One Tusker…

twisted tusker tusk tip small

While at Mana Pools National Park we met this elephant. At first we dismissed it as a “one tusker” but when we looked at it from a different angle it immediately became clear that we were wrong!

While its right tusk looked healthy and nicely curved, its left tusk had grown in the wrong direction and it was pointing down and towards the back.

twisted tusker small 1

I have seen pictures and references in the literature of elephants with weird tusk arrangements so this find is not really an unusual one. It is much more rare to find an elephant with three tusks and I recall a hunter (probably Ionides) who tracked a famous three-tusker. More recently, an animal with this same rare characteristic was spotted in Nxai Pan National Park in Botswana by Stuart Arnold (http://www.exploreafrica.net/whats-happening-now/3-tusk-elephant-nxai-pan/).

Twisted tusker small

In our case, what made this animal interesting was its habit of placing its trunk behind its left tusk, giving it a weird look.

Twisted tusker trunk

Based on its size and condition, the bent tusk does not appear to have had a negative impact on its life and it is unlikely that it will affect it in the future. We will keep an eye open for it in our upcoming visits to the Park.

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