Elephants are a kind of social elephants. It is the largest mammal on the land. Elephants are famous for wandering the world in Africa and Asia.
Some elephant mothers put their lives at risk to save calves. Moms and children are bound with eternal love. Some elephants have human friends too.
Let’s check out more about this iconic animal.
You will find three species of elephants
You may have heard about the two species of elephants. But there are three types. The most famous elephant types are Asian and African. Three types are African forest elephant, African bush elephant, and Asian elephant.
Normally, the forest animals are smaller in size compared to bush elephants. African forest elephants have straighter and downward pointing tusks. If you see an elephant with a curved tusk, most probably it can be an African bush elephant. Both African varieties have common ancestors but different DNA. But both African Forest elephants and bush elephants are different species. They live in the tropical forests of Africa’s Congo Bush. You can easily identify African elephants. They have bigger ears just similar to the continent of Africa.
A male African elephant weighs about 4 000-7500 kg. They can reach up to 3m tall. The Asian elephants are small. They weigh about 3000-6000 kg. An Asian elephant is about 2.7m tall.
The tusks of elephants are actually teeth
Tusks are like jewelry for elephants. But it is actually enlarged incisor teeth. The tusks begin to appear when the calf is about 2 years old.
The tusks are very useful for elephants. It helps them when feeding by digging up roots or prising bark off trees. Tusks act as a weapon when fighting against predators.
Though the tusks add beauty to these big creatures, they also put their lives at risk. People hunt elephants to get tusks. They use elephant tusks to make different statues and jewelry.
The tusks never stop grows
The fascinating fact about elephant tusk is, it never stops growing. If you see an elephant with giant tusks, it is a sign to say that the elephant is quite old in age. You can easily figure out Asian female elephants as they don’t have tusks. Only Asian male elephants have tusks. Both males and females of African elephants bear tusks.
They spend more than half of the day eating
Elephants are always hungry animals. They love to eat too much food. So elephants spend 12 to 18 hours a day eating fruits, plants, and grass. The trunk helps to smell food. Tourists have noticed that Asian elephants use a trunk to pick up a peanut, shell it, and blow the shell. Then it eats the peanut. There are about 150 000 muscle units in the trunk of an elephant. It is the most sensitive organ of elephants. The trunk is useful when drinking water.
Elephants eat up to 150kg of food for a day. Half of the food leaves the body in the undigested form.
Elephants communicate using vibrations
Elephants have different ways to communicate. They have a trumpet call that can’t be heard by humans. Body language is also helpful for elephants when communicating. They use scent and touch also. Seismic signals that make vibrations in the ground are also one of the communication methods that elephants use. The vibrations are detected through the bones of elephants.
The new bones stand within 20 minutes after birth
Our babies can’t stand just after birth. But elephant babies can stand just after birth. They can stand after 20 minutes from birth and walk within one hour. Calves can cope with the herd after 2 days. There won’t be any problem with the herd even after getting a new member. They won’t stop for weeks. But travel for food and water to ensure survival even after giving birth to a new offspring.
The elephants never forget
Elephants are a group of intelligent animals. They never forget things. The temporal lobe of the elephant which is the area associated with the memory is denser and larger. It is even bigger when compared to humans.
There are many stories to prove that elephants never forget things. There are some rescued elephants who live in the sanctuaries. When they saw the people or man who rescued them, the elephant shows his gratitude. These kinds of stories are heard from many parts of the world. Some elephants travel long distances to find their friends.
Elephant skin is prone to sunburns
Just like the human skin, the elephant’s skin is also sensitive to sunlight. Elephants have skin prone to sunburns.
Elephants make a natural sunscreen unique to them. After having a bath in a river or swamp. They apply mud all over the skin. Sand up is also a good remedy to stay away from sunburns. There are stories about elephants using white mud as sunscreen.
Elephants make close relationships with children and friends
An elephant loves calves and the herd a lot. There are predators for this largest mammal too. Wild dogs like to hunt baby elephants in the herd. Tourists have seen several instances where wild dogs are approaching the herd to hunt calves. But elephant mothers and other members in the herd take tactful decisions and overcome these threats. People have captured instances where elephants use their trunks to send away enemies.
A set of people in India had noticed elephant mothers staying with calves in case of danger. They never let the baby elephants isolate. Though the instance is too much tough, they never gave up the dedication and effort. They are kind of brave and courageous groups of animals.
Elephants can’t hug each other. What they do is, wrap their trunks around. They greet each other using the trunk.
Elephants cross rivers
Elephants love to travel for food. They cross rivers to search for food. Their trunk helps them to cross water. Elephants use the trunk as a snorkel when crossing rivers. Many tourists and wildlife photographs have captured thousands of such incidents.
Elephants have the largest pregnancy
Normally, humans have a 9 month period for pregnancy. The time differs from one animal to another. The longest pregnancy period is available with female elephants. It lasts for about 22 months.
Baby elephants survive from mother
Just like human babies, elephant calves also need the mother until they reach young ages. Calves spend about 10 years with mom. Though the calves can stand and walk just after a few hours from birth, they still need their mother’s affection. Calves fully depend on their mother for food. They put the trunks inside their mother’s mouth to take food.
How to protect elephants?
The lives of all animals are in danger due to human activities. Deforestation has caused major risks for the survival of elephants. Some countries use elephants to make money from tourism. They don’t think about innocent animals. There is much news about the miserable lives the elephants live when they become a part of the tourism in a country.
People used to hunt elephants to take tusks. So we need to take necessary actions to avoid them. You can refrain from buying pieces of jewelry made out of elephant tusks. It is better to learn the way to appreciate the freedom of elephants without making them a pleasure. You can easily give funds to an elephant sanctuary. It is a place where rescued elephants are taken care of.
To Sum Up
Elephants are the giants on the land. They love to roam here and there in the jungle freely to find food. People used to make houses and constructions by destroying their habitats. So some incidents related to elephant attacks are common to see in social media and other news platforms. It is our paramount duty to let elephants survive freely. So they won’t disturb us.