By Alison Fox
January 21, 2020
Getty Images 

A video of an adorable elephant walking inside a hotel in Sri Lanka went viral this weekend — and it turns out he's somewhat of a regular guest. 

The video, which was posted Jan. 19 and has since received 6.8 million views, 371,000 likes and 80,000 retweets as of Tuesday, shows the elephant checking out some of the common areas of the Jetwing Yala hotel in the south-east of Sri Lanka. The elephant, known as Natta Kota, then knocks something over before heading over to the window to check out the view.

"In the initial years, Natta Kota was a seasonal visitor, appearing for a few months of the year before disappearing once more into the bush,” a Jetwing spokesperson told the BBC. “During this period, he paid frequent visits to other resorts along the beach stretch as well."

The spokesperson added that: "A few years ago, he took up permanent residence at Jetwing where he is allowed to be at peace. Natta Kota spends his days sleeping in the shade of the scrubs and taking walks along the hotel's footpaths."

The person who posted the viral video, Upuli, said her mother had texted it to her and said the hotel told her the elephant “comes & goes in peace, takes naps & “steals” food from the kitchens. He’s free and gentle and well loved by the staff.”

Elephant sightings and encounters at the hotel are actually pretty common, adding that hotel employees say the Asian bull elephant has been the “most loyal patron" since 2013.

And while he's known for his mischievous streak, the hotel’s staff does not punish him — but did install an electric fence in front of the kitchen door, the BBC reported.

"Natta Kota's calm [demeanor] has made him a delight to guests and videos of him helping himself to the hotel's trees are aplenty," the hotel noted, according to the BBC.

Animal encounters can be one of the best parts of traveling -- especially getting up close and personal with wild animals -- but it’s important to do it responsibly and do your research.

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