Top 10 Facts about Elephants
Top 10 facts about elephants shall see the most fascinating or interesting facts about elephants that you should know before you embark on your amazing Africa wildlife safari. Elephants are the largest land mammals on earth, and can be found in most parts of the world. Elephants, given their size, draws many travellers’ curious nature. There are two species of elephants walking the earth, the Asian elephants and African elephants.
The African elephants are however further subdivided in two subspecies namely the forest elephants and the bush/savannah elephants. Elephants though in plenty on earth, have reduced in number in recent years due to the increased poaching of the animals for most especially ivory got from their tusks.
Elephants, especially African elephants, can be seen in most protected areas in Africa, say Amboseli National Park in Kenya, Serengeti National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, among so many other Africa wildlife destinations. You shall encounter these elephants while on game drives, walking safaris, hiking, or even gorilla trekking or chimpanzee tracking adventure activities. Below are the top 10 facts about elephants that you should know, or be reminded about;
World’s largest land mammal
Elephants are the world’s largest land mamma, with males measuring on average 3m high. Elephants can weigh as much as 600kgs, with a brain weighing 5kgs, making it the largest brain in the animal kingdom. Male elephants have their full size at 40-50 years, and elephants generally have a lifespan of 60-70 years.
Different species of elephants.
First off, know that there are two different species of elephants, the Asian elephant and the African elephant. Asian elephants are slightly smaller than the African elephants, and have smaller ears too with their skin normally dark grey or brown and have pink or yellow marks on their faces, ears and trunks. Note that the African elephant is further divided into two subspecies, the forest elephants and bush elephants. It is the bush elephants that travellers usually encounter while on wildlife safaris.
The trunk of an elephant has a number of activities it can do. Their trunks alone have around 150,000 muscle units making it one of the most sensitive organs. An elephant, say the Asian elephant, has been seen picking up a nut with its trunk, shell it and blow it away and then eat the nut! The truck of an elephant has other roles like drinking water, where it can collect up to 8 litres of water, among other uses.
Tusks are teeth!
One of the most fascinating fact about elephants is that elephant tusks are actually teeth. Yes, they are enlarged incisor teeth which appear when elephants are about 2 years, and then continue growing throughout the lifespan of the elephant. These tusks are used for various roles say feeding, where they use the tusks to prick the barks off trees, are used for defence, among others.
Elephants do have thick skin. Most parts of an elephant are about 2.5cm thick. Elephants keep their skin clean and protect themselves from sunburn by taking either regular dust or mud baths.
Elephants communicate through vibrations
Elephants do communicate through various sounds, including seismic signals sounds which create vibrations in the ground and they may detect through their bones. They also communicate through trumpet calls, body language, touch and scent.
Calves can stand within 20 minutes of birth
Elephant calves once born are able to stand in 20 minutes, walk in one hour and can without trouble keep up with the heard after two days. The calves adapt so swiftly to the migrating nature of the elephants given they have to keep moving to get food and water to sustain themselves. It is important to note that female elephants have a gestation period of two years, the longest time in land mammals; and also give birth only once every five years.
Elephants never forget
The elephants brain alone is 5kgs, remember, and the area around the brain associated with memory is larger and denser than that of humans. This gives them an ability to remember everything, including people or animals that may have caused them harm or hut in the past.
Elephants are constantly eating
Elephants can spend almost over a quarter of their day chewing, and they can eat up to 150kg of food per day.
Elephants have 6 sets of molar teeth
Elephants have six sets of molar teeth which they depend on greatly for feeding throughout their life. Upon the loss of the last set of molar teeth, the elephants cannot eat and thereby die of starvation. Elephants, additionally, have their feet covered in soft padding which helps them to support their weight and also helps them prevent slipping and also dull the sound of their footsteps.
Elephants are fascinating animals that travellers can encounter while on an Africa wildlife safari. While it may be possible to ride an elephant in some zoos around the world, do not think of doing it while on safari given that these elephants are wild and not tamed to accommodate human interaction. Book an Africa wildlife safari to encounter these amazing elephants; Amboseli National Park is one of the most beautiful places to see elephants in the wild.