Elephant caught smoking on camera leaves scientists baffled
Experts unsure over causes of animal's bizarre behaviour at Indian nature reserve
Scientists have been left baffled by a wild elephant caught on camera blowing out plumes of smoke while consuming smouldering lumps of charcoal.
Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) filmed the female elephant exhibiting the unusual behaviour at Nagahrole National Park in India.
In the video, the mammal can been seen picking up lumps of charcoal with its trunk, placing the coal in its mouth, and exhaling a large cloud of smoke.
Scientists have theorised it may have been trying to eat the wood for medicinal reasons.
“I believe the elephant may have been trying to ingest wood charcoal,” said Dr Varun Goswami, WCS India scientist and elephant biologist.
“She appeared to be picking up pieces from the forest floor, blowing away the ash that came along with it, and consuming the rest.”
Charcoal has toxin-binding properties, which scientists believe may be of some medicinal value to elephants.
A young elephant seals looks shocked at his friends revelation in George Cathcart's "WTF?!", taken in San Simeon, California
George Cathcart / CWPA / Barcroft
A Green Turtle vs a Napoleon Maori Wrasse in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Troy Mayne / CWPA / Barcroft
Andrea Zampatti won the On The Land category with this precious snap in Italy
Andrea Zampatti / CWPA / Barcroft
Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) mother with cub hitching a ride on mama's bum. Wapusk National Park in Manitoba, Canada
Daisy Gilardini / CWPA / Barcroft
A sea otter pictured cheering after sleep in early morning in Elkhorn Slough, California
Penny Palmer / CWPA / Barcroft
An owl struggles to keep his grip as his owl friends look the other way in Tibor Kercz's "Help!!!" in Opusztaszer, Hungary
Tibor Kercz / CWPA / Barcroft Im
A red fox surveys his shot in Douglas Croft's "Must Have Three-Putted"
Douglas Croft / CWPA / Barcroft
Two mudskippers sing their hearts out on tidal mudflats, taken in Krabi, Thailand
Daniel Trim / CWPA / BarcroftRead More...