wallow

A depression in the landscape formed where large animals habitually roll in the dirt, taking dust baths to combat biting flies and parasites on their hides, is called a wallow. Some blowouts begin as wallows, then are further scooped out by wind. Wallows may be dry, seasonally wet, boggy, or even persistent pools. Waterholes and wallows are not mutually exclusive. Some animals indulge in mud wallows, or even swim if pools are deep enough. The best-known North American wallows, some of them still visible, were excavated by bison. Wallows of various kinds have left their names on the land, such as Buffalo Wallow, Iowa; Bear Wallow, Arkansas; and Hog Wallow Hollow, Kentucky. Elk wallows on lands of the Quinault Indian Nation in Washington are known as important habitats for aquatic organisms such as amphibians. The Skookum Cast, one of the more intriguing recent pieces of evidence for Bigfoot, involves possible hand, buttock, heel, and thigh impressions recovered and cast from an elk wallow southeast of Mt. St. Helens.

Robert Michael Pyle