Wildlife Wednesday : An elephant's skin is generally very tough, at 2.5 cm (1 in) thick on the back and parts of the head. The skin around the mouth, anus, and inside of the ear is considerably thinner. Elephants typically have grey skin, but African elephants look brown or reddish after wallowing in coloured mud.
African elephants don't have sweat and sebum glands to keep their skin moist in their warm, dry environment. To cope with overheating, especially due to their size, elephants are known to bathe, spray water and wallow in mud. The mud helps them regulate their body temperature, avoid parasites and protect from solar radiation.
The mud, combined with the cracks in their skin, allows the elephants to retain five to 10 times more water than if their skin were a flat surface.