Elephant in the room: giant mammal checks out Sri Lankan hotel in viral video

Guests at the hotel in Sri Lanka filmed the fully-grown wild elephant as he wandered through the lobby

A composite of screenshots from the video posted on Twitter
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Things got a little wild at Jetwing Yala hotel in Sri Lanka this week when a fully-grown male elephant decided to explore the five-star property.

Travellers staying at the hotel woke up to find the unexpected guest wandering slowly through the halls.

One guest filmed the huge mammal as he roamed through Jetwing Yala's corridors. The video has since gone viral, with more than six million views.

In the two-minute-long footage, the elephant can be seen walking through the lobby and coming to a stop at the top of a flight of stairs. Turning in the opposite direction, he meanders past the reception desk then turns a corner where his inquisitive trunk knocks over an illuminated music stand, scattering sheet music on the floor.

A trunk-load of loyalty points

While guests visiting at Jetwing Yala were surprised by the elephant's appearance, hotel staff were not. That's because this particular elephant is actually a regular guest.

He is known as Natta Kota, a name that means short tail in Sinhala and refers to the elephant's broken tail.

Natta Kota first visited the hotel back in 2013 as a young bull. He became a repeat guest, racking up loyalty points with visits over a few months every year. As he has aged, his visits have become more frequent and he recently relocated to living primarily in and around the hotel grounds.

Jetwing hotels are keen to stress that all wild animals who wander into the property should remain wild. They advised guests to keep their distance and avoid feeding wild creatures.

Jetwing Yala is a five-star hotel located close to Sri Lanka's Yala National Park. Courtesy Jetwing Hotels

Located in the south of Sri Lanka, Jetwing Yala is the closest hotel to Yala National Park. The park is one of the best destinations in the world to see leopards, monkeys and bears, as well as Sri Lankan elephants. There is no fence separating the hotel from the park so wild animal sightings are common at Jetwing Yala and at neighbouring Jetwing Safari Camp.


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