African tortoise survives elephants

This video from South Africa says about itself:

World’s Luckiest Tortoise Survives Elephant Stampede!

6 March 2018

Saved by the bell, or in the animal kingdom, it is more like saved by your shell.

Watch the dramatic moment a tortoise finds himself between the feet of a thirsty herd of elephants that is on its way down to the waterhole.

The sighting starts off with a lone tortoise down by the water, quenching his thirst. Suddenly, viewers could start hearing a bit of a rumble coming from the area and the tortoise immediately went into his shell before the rowdy crowd came along.

A thirsty herd of elephants in the Pilanesberg strolled down to the watering hole for a drink from the Kwa Maritane lodge. Interestingly enough, the elephants seemed to be aware of the tortoise’s presence and were very careful to step over the tortoise or only bump him gently with their giant feet. Everyone watching was just waiting for the unfortunate moment that one elephant didn’t see this unusual “rock” and steps right onto it. But it miraculously didn’t happen! For a minute or so, the herd was standing over the tortoise, having a good time in the water! But luckily, the elephants soon moved a bit upstream and the tortoise immediately saw an escape path, letting him flee for his life back to the safety of the surrounding bush.

An intricate network of crevices adorns the skin surface of the African bush elephant. By retaining water, these micrometer-wide channels greatly help elephants in regulating their body temperature. Today, researchers report that African elephant skin channels are true fractures of the animal brittle and desquamation-deficient skin outermost layer. The scientists show that the elephant hyperkeratinised skin grows on a lattice of millimetric elevations, causing its fracture due to local bending mechanical stress: here.

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