Aside from being one of the most beloved animals, elephants are also considered the weathermen of the wild. These massive mammals have heightened senses that have helped them track and chase storms. Our African elephant research team wants to share with you the relationship between elephants and weather.
Where do elephants live?
Wild elephants can be found on two different continents - Africa and Asia. They live in habitats that are grassy or forestry. In Africa, elephants live in the thick rainforests and savannahs. These animals are always on the move to find water and food.
Asian elephants are no different. They can also be found in the tropical rainforests and grasslands of Southeast Asia. They also spend most of their time finding water and food sources.
Their habitats have helped them develop keen survival skills to find natural resources. Elephants are able to smell water, whether it is underground or in a tree. This skill becomes handy during the dry seasons.
How elephants beat the heat
Elephants, especially African elephants, live in places with hot temperatures. The climate of the African savannas ranges from 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. It is usually warm throughout the year. The savannahs do experience wet and dry seasons. During the wet seasons, they can see 10 to 30 inches of rain.
You are probably wondering, how do elephants manage with the heat? Well, their bodies are built to beat the heat. Although elephants do not sweat, they are able to regulate their body heat through their wrinkly skin. The wrinkles on their skin allow them to trap moisture from water or mud. That is why elephants can be seen swimming in water or taking mud baths.
Elephants and rainstorms
It is no secret that elephants have a strong sense of smell. Their nostrils are located in their trunk. Inside their nasal cavity, they have seven olfactory turbinals that have millions of olfactory receptors. These receptors help them smell for long distances.
African elephant research has found that elephants can smell water that is 12 miles away. This means they can smell water located underground and even miles away. It is recorded that elephants can sense storms and rainfall happening 150 miles away.
This skill comes in handy, especially during the dry seasons. They can change their course and go towards locations with rainfall. Elephants need a lot of water. These massive mammals can drink up to 50 gallons of water each day. Researchers have also used how elephants follow storms to monitor their movements and protect them from poachers.
Why are elephant populations declining?
Right now, both African and Asian elephants need your help. African elephants are listed as vulnerable - meaning they are at risk of becoming endangered. Then, Asian elephants are endangered - which means they are at risk of extinction.
Both of their populations have declined due to loss of habitats and poaching. Their homes are diminishing due to human encroachment and deforestation. While also being hunted down and killed for their tusks to make ivory.
How to support African elephant research
You can help save elephants by supporting elephant nonprofits like For Elephants! We use science to make informed decisions on elephant conservation. Join our “Herds of Heroes” to make a monthly donation to our research. Make sure to also subscribe to our newsletter!