Fun Facts About Elephants
Elephants are the largest and heaviest land animals that exist on Earth at the moment. They’re probably also the most intelligent domesticated animal. They have the longest noses of any animal. They have the longest teeth, these are known as tusks. Their gestation period is the longest and it may be that they have the longest memories as well. This article will help you learn some other fun facts about elephants.
Elephants have lived all over the earth, everywhere except Australia and Antarctica. They have lived in rainforests, deserts and glaciers.
Species of elephant
There were possibly 300 species of elephant. We now just have 2 left, the African elephant and the Asian elephant. There are two subspecies of the African elephant, the bush elephant and the round-eared elephant. Then there are three subspecies of the Asian elephant, the Sri Lankan, Indian and Sumatran elephants.
Male and female elephants (also known as bulls and cows) don’t live together. Usually, bulls will live together and the cows and their offspring will live together. The cows and calves (which are baby elephants) are usually in a herd which is led by an older elephant who will be a grandmother or maybe even a great-grandmother.
Mammoths and mastodons.
Many people will have heard of the woolly mammoth and know that it is one of the elephants’ extinct relatives. A woolly mammoth was found by a fisherman in Russia in 1799. It was frozen in a block of ice. Many other woolly mammoth tusks have been found in this area.
In North America, there were also some mammoths found but there were more mastodon remains found. Mastodons were similar to mammoths but they were shaped slightly differently. The mammoth had back which sloped downwards towards their tails, whereas mastodons have backs which are more level.
Ivory boomerang – Poland 23000 years ago
Stone Age tools weapons
Elephants have large round feet and are designed to walk quietly around the forest when they want to. As they put their feet down on the ground the size of their feet expands slightly. Most elephants have five toes on each foot, but some African elephants only have four toes. However, their toes do not stick out like ours do but are covered in skin. Their “toenails” are attached to the front of the round foot rather than their toe bones and look a bit like hooves.
The Elephant’s Trunk
An elephant’s trunk is a bit like having a combined arm and a nose.
The trunk will suck up water and then put it into its mouth so that it doesn’t have to put its head right down to the water to drink. You will also see elephants squirt water all over their bodies and also each other as a game.
The end of the African elephants’ trunk seems to operate almost like a finger and thumb. It can pick things up and even take grit out of its eyes.
The Asian elephant seems to have one finger on its trunk so it picks things up by curling its trunk around them.
The elephant can move its trunk in any direction and it can also stretch its trunk to reach things.
Tusks are the elephant’s front two teeth but they have grown much bigger than the other teeth. They can grow about 17 cm or 8 inches per year. They are used as tools and weapons and sometimes the elephants will sharpen one or both of them to make them more effective.
Unfortunately, many elephants have been killed for their tusks, also known as ivory, as poachers have been able to sell them for a lot of money. Tusks don’t wear out and last a whole lifetime unless they get damaged.
An ivory boomerang was found in Poland. It was thought to be 23,000 years ago
Ivory was used in the Stone Age both to make tools and weapons.
The Other Teeth
Elephants also have to lower teeth which they use to grind up their food. These teeth do get worn out and they get replaced about 6 times in an elephant’s lifetime. Each replacement is bigger than the last. Final teeth will be about the size of house bricks.
Elephants are constantly eating
Ok, not constantly! But for about three-quarters of the day and night elephants are collecting and eating their food. Elephants eat from 100 to 200 kg of food in the wild. They eat plants, they are herbivores, but they can’t eat cellulose which makes up a lot of what plants are made of. This is why elephant poo doesn’t contain much undigested plant fibre or seeds.
Elephants like bananas, other fruits and sugar cane so they are happy when they find these but they also trample these crops and push over the trees. This is a major problem for the people who have cultivated these as they can have their livelihood destroyed.
Watch this video and see if you can answer these questions?
Can you name 5 things that elephants eat?
How old are the male elephants when they stop living with their female relatives?
For how long are female elephants pregnant?
How much does a baby elephant weigh when it is born?
Which elephants can’t run? Why can’t they?
What is special about elephants and mirrors?
How do elephants protect their skin from sunlight?
Some Baby Elephant Clips
Some Elephants Running to Greet their Friend
Elephants Can Hear Through Their Feet!
The first minute of this video gives you an overview, carry on with the video if you what to know more about the science behind this.