WATCH: 'Smoking' elephant baffles scientists with never-before seen behaviour

2018-03-28 13:45 - Gabi Zietsman
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YouTube/Wildlife Conservation Society

Cape Town - Seeing a smoke-breathing elephant is not your usual wildlife sighting out in nature.

It sparks all sorts of strange questions, like why would an elephant be 'smoking' and what on earth could be causing the unusual scene? It's all smoke and no mirrors in the apparent deception though,as this video below shows.  

A Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) scientist working in India, Vinay Kumar, came upon the elephant ingesting charcoal from a recent fire while setting up camera traps back in 2016, but only recently released the video.

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The elephant was picking up the charcoal to eat it, and in the process breathed out a column of smoke or ash in the process as if part of some insane old-school circus act.

Scientists at WCS are quite confused by this never-before-seen behaviour, though an elephant expert posits that it seems like the elephant may have been after the toxin-binding properties of the charcoal. It also acts as a laxative, though I don't think you want to be near an elephant when THAT kicks in.

This elephant isn't the first animal to be eating charcoal. Zanzibar's red colobus monkeys are famous for eating charcoal, which studies claim have adapted to eating it due to the toxicity of their almond and mango leaves diet, according to Science Daily.

Charcoal is also used in feed for domestic animals, and activated charcoal can also be given to pets if they've eaten something toxic.

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Watch the crazy video below: