Elephants are credited as the largest land animals in the world, and they can be as tall as 14 feet and weight upwards of 20,000 lbs. They have large flappy ears that help them wade through water. Elephants also have trunks that are formed as a combination of their upper lip and nose. This animal which is scared of bees is the only species besides humans to possess a chin which is hidden from view because of their massive trunks. Another one of their distinctive features are the two tusks hanging out of their mouth at all times. There are only two species of elephants left in the world; Asian Elephant and African Elephant, the latter of which is bigger on principle. Liked few bites of information? Then let’s dig in to eat the entire cake filled with a frosting of fascinating elephant facts.
Fascinating Elephant Facts – Interesting
10. Similarities to Humans
Elephants are the only animals besides the monkeys who bear many similarities to humans. Their brains are very sophisticatedly developed and have as many neurons as the humans. They have a complex cerebral cortex which helps them in differentiating languages, voices, gender and even age of the humans to become better equipped to handle threats. Also, the chin thing I explained earlier is another similarity.
9. Sensitive to Smell
Contrary to popular beliefs, dogs are not the animals with the most sensitive sense of smell. They just have a keen sense and better memory of the scent. Elephants have the most sensitive sense of smell as they are capable smelling water from even 12 miles away. It has been one of those gifts that have kept the species alive despite the recent treacherous conditions for wildlife. One of the fascinating elephant facts is that they can smell rain from 150 miles away.
8. Humanly Behavior
Because of their highly developed cerebral cortex, elephants exhibit many traits that are reminiscent of humans like complex problem solving and creating solutions. They have a defined social standing in the pack and the female elephants like to stay in closely knit families of sisters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts and siblings. Male elephants often wander, living life much too like a bachelor. They have their language and emit infrared signals to communicate even from huge distances with each other. Elephants can also communicate using trumpets up to five miles away. They can even recognize themselves in mirrors like humans and can develop PTSD.
7. Trunk is the Deal
Elephant’s trunk is its most important body part, and it performs a myriad of functions for them as it acts as a limb for them. It is sensitive to even the tiniest of elements and is strong enough to destroy even the strongest of logs. One of the fascinating elephant facts is that its trunk can suck up to 14 liters of water in one gulp. Contrary to popular belief, they do not drink with their trunks as often shown in many ill-referenced cartoons. They shoot the water into their mouth after a gulp through their trunk and they turn their trunk into a sprinkler to give themselves a shower. When traveling underwater, the trunks perform the functions of a snorkeler.
6. Show of Emotions
Elephants also show emotions like grief, compassion, playfulness and even mourning. They recognize more 30 thirty elephants in their herd at any given time, and they even have levels of friendship. They even try to nurse the sick one to health by cooling them down with their ear flaps and bringing it food and water. When one of them dies, elephants mourn their death by basically holding a wake. When anthropologist Lawrence Anthony aka ‘The Elephant Whisperer’ died, a herd of elephants went to his home to mourn his death.
Elephant reproduction system is a matter of real extremes. Their female has the largest reproductive anatomy of any animal, and that is to be expected considering they are the largest land animals. Even considering that their vagina alone starts 1.3 meters inside the body. Despite that, one of the craziest and fascinating elephant facts is that the sperm that male produces at the time of copulation is even less than that of a tiny mouse. They also have the longest gestation period of females being pregnant for 22 long months.
4. Weight Games
A baby elephant (260lbs) can weigh twice the weight of an average human adult, and it also starts walking mere hours after birth. An adult elephant can weigh anywhere between 10 to 20 thousand pounds. The heaviest till date was weighed in at 24,000 after it was shot dead in Angola in 1956. They can consume over 600lbs of food every day and drink 160 liters of water. The pair of tusks alone can weigh up to 450lbs. Around 100 elephants are killed every day for their tusks to be used in manufacturing.
An elephant’s ears act as an air conditioner for their entire bodies. The ears have hundreds of thin weaving veins and blood vessels that are sensitive to heat. When elephants flap their ears, the blood vessels in them cool and the cooler blood circulates through the entire body to cool it down in intense heat. Apart from their big sensitive ears that hear brilliantly, elephants can also hear through their feet by picking up on sensory vibration thanks to their big sensitive ears.
2. Sunburn Alert
If you have ever had a privilege of seeing this massive creature which I have, they might seem extremely dirty because of the dried mud or dirt on their skin. They are not dirty as they use their trunks to smear mud over themselves after they sprinkle themselves with water. One of the most fascination elephant facts is that they may not look like it, but they can get seriously sun burnt on the level of humans or even worse.
1. Few Fascinating Elephant Facts
Humans have had quite a few crazy things to or dealings with elephants. Thomas Edison once electrocuted an elephant to prove that Tesla’s AC was dangerous. On the famous game show ‘Price is Right’ a contestant had a bonus prize of an element which he won and requested. It was transported from Kenya to be delivered to him. Still, the craziest of them all is the fact that one of the finest coffees in the world is made using the dung of Thai Elephants as their digestive system refines the coffee. Hope you weren’t having some while you read this snippet.
Elephants are endearing creatures and humans are the biggest threat to them because of deforestation and urbanization. If we don’t take measures to ensure their safety, they may go to the brink of extinction shortly.