Residents of Russia’s third-largest city were left flabbergasted after seeing two elephants wandering the snowy streets of Yekaterinburg after they escaped from a circus.

One of the female elephants, unreceptive to attempts to bring her back, crossed a busy street and headed to a residential building to roll and cavort in the snow.

One man who tried to stop her by holding on to her trunk was pushed across the street, his feet sliding on the ice.

The local circus said the two elephants – Karla and Ranni – belong to an Italian company that ran a show in Yekaterinburg during the new year holidays.

An elephant crosses the street in Yekaterinburg, Russia
One of the elephants crosses the street in Yekaterinburg (Daniil Romanov via AP)

When its troupe tried to load the animals into a truck to head to the next destination, they resisted and walked away.

The circus said Ranni loitered near the loading point but the more adventurous Karla decided to make a tour of the city.

Handlers finally got a rope around one of the elephant’s front legs, but it took a dozen people to pull her back.

She reluctantly obeyed after playing in the snow.

Circus workers pull an elephant in Yekaterinburg, Russia
Circus workers with one of the elephants (Ksenia Tsybizova via AP)

“The elephants wanted to get some new experiences before a long journey, and they got them,” the circus said.