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Baths give keepers chance to check elephants

Zookeepers bathe elephants regularly, but Asha and Chandra usually cover themselves in dirt immediately afterward.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Modified: November 24, 2010 at 4:14 pm •  Published: November 19, 2010

Every morning, the elephant keepers at the Oklahoma City Zoo give Asha and Chandra a bath. The routine gives them a chance to keep the elephants clean and make sure they're healthy.

“It gives us a chance to check their whole body from the night before,” pachyderm supervisor Nick Newby said.

The elephants' training is incorporated into the bath each day. The elephants stay within individual stalls and go through an entire routine with the trainers. They present different sides of their body and allow keepers to hose them off. The keepers then check their skin for injuries and scrub the animals if necessary.

The elephants go to a position called “stretch,” where keepers can see their back and the tops of their heads. Then the elephants lie flat on their sides, so the keepers can check their bellies.

During bath time, the keepers ask the elephants to raise their trunks and open their mouths so the teeth, tongue and tusks can be examined.


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