Do you know these 25 facts about elephants? 

25 facts about elephants

There is no denying that elephants are fantastic animals! That is why we want to spread the word about just how unique these animals are. Our African elephant research team has compiled a list of African elephant facts that you can bookmark or share with your friends and family. 

African elephant facts

  1. Elephants are mammals.

Mammals are classified as warm-blooded vertebrates with hair. Another characteristic of mammals is that they feed their young with milk and have a well-developed brain. Elephants fit all these characteristics, including the one about hair.

  1. There are three types of elephants.

Many people tend not to know that there are three different species of elephants: African savanna elephants, African forest elephants and Asian elephants. It was not until recently that scientists separated the African elephant species because they are genetically different species. 

  1. Elephants are the largest land mammal. 

The average height of an African elephant is 8.2 to 13 feet tall. In comparison, the average height of an Asian elephant is 6.5 to 11.5 feet

  1. Elephants can eat up to 600 pounds of food in a single day. 

To maintain such a large body, elephants need to eat a lot of food. Researchers report that elephants can eat as much as 600 pounds of food in a day. These animals dedicate 16 hours a day to eating. 

  1. A group of elephants is called a herd.

A herd of elephants is made up of the matriarch, female elephants and their offspring. These elephants live and travel together. 

  1. Male elephants live alone or in small bachelor pads.

The male elephants, bull elephants, tend to live a more isolated life. They leave their mother’s herds during their juvenile years and live alone or in small pods with other male elephants. 

  1. The leader of the herd is the matriarch elephant. 

The matriarch elephant is usually the oldest elephant. This elephant is responsible for leading the herd to food, safety and teaching other elephants how to care for their offspring. 

  1. An elephant’s pregnancy is 22 months long.

Elephants have one of the longest gestation periods. An elephant’s pregnancy tends to last 22 months, which is almost two years

  1. A baby elephant is three feet when it is born.

Elephants have long gestation periods to help them fully develop. A baby elephant is about three feet tall and can stand independently within a few minutes of being born. 

  1. Elephants have up to 40,000 muscles in their trunks. 

The trunk of an elephant has up to 40,000 muscles. Just to put that into perspective, a human has more than 600 muscles in its entire body. 

  1. Elephants use their trunks as hands.

Elephants use their trunks to pick up items, use tools and snorkel. Contrary to popular belief, elephants do not drink out of their trunk. 

  1. An elephant’s tusks are teeth.

The tusks of an elephant are actually their teeth. Their tusks are made up of dentine and hard, bony tissue. Those two teeth are then wrapped in enamel that protects them from wear and tear. 

  1. Elephants use their tusks to defend themselves, push and dig.

What do elephants use their tusks for? Well, they use them to defend themselves, push things or dig holes. Sadly, thousands of elephants are killed every year for their tusks. 

  1. All African elephants have tusks, and only some male Asian elephants have noticeable tusks. 

Not all elephants have tusks. Some female Asian elephants do not have noticeable tusks like their male counterparts. However, all African elephants do have tusks. 

  1. An elephant is identified by its ears.

The identifying feature of an elephant is its ears. Not one elephant has the same shape of ears. That is how conservationists are able to track elephants.

  1. Elephants have fantastic hearing.

An elephant’s large ears help them hear impressive frequencies. Elephants are able to hear low frequencies of 5 to 16 Hz and high frequencies of 12,000 to 16,000 Hz

  1. Elephants do not have the best eyesight. 

Although elephants have very large bodies, their eyes are fairly small. Elephants do not have the best eyesight. They have a limited range of vision. 

  1. However, elephants can see in the dark.

Elephants have arrhythmic vision, which is a vision that changes with the time of day. They are able to see with less light because they are more sensitive to blue and violet lights. 

  1. Elephants sleep around four to six hours a day. 

Since elephants need a lot to eat, they spend most of their time eating. This leaves them with four to six hours to sleep. However, on some occasions, elephants can run on a few hours of sleep. 

  1. Elephants do not sweat.

Elephants do not have sweat or sebum glands. These animals are able to regulate their body temperature through flapping their ears, extremely high permeability skin and rolling in mud. 

  1. Elephants create watering holes.

There can be droughts where elephants live. So, they have developed the skill of being able to smell water. This helps them dig holes and create watering holes for themselves and other animals. 

  1. Elephants help promote plant diversity. 

Elephants are travelers. Thanks to their long journeys and large appetites, elephants disperse seeds through their dung as they travel. 

  1. Elephants create homes for smaller animals.

Elephants are strong enough to knock down trees. This skill comes in handy when trying to reach food in trees. The knocked down trees then make homes for smaller animals. 

  1. Elephants are intelligent.

You know that saying an elephant never forgets. This saying is partly true. Elephants are very intelligent creatures with strong memories and empathy skills

  1. Elephants are at risk of being lost forever. 

As you can tell from these African elephant facts, elephants are amazing. However, they are at risk of being lost forever due to poaching and habitat loss. You can help save them by supporting African elephant research and conservation. Make a donation today by joining our “Herds of Heroes” program. 

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