What is one thing that strikes you the most when you see an elephant?
Is it not its size? Elephants are enormous.
Elephant is the largest animal on land. Not only that, it is also the biggest land mammal.
A fully grown elephant usually is 11 feet tall and weighs 5,800 Kgs. An elephant’s brain weighs 4.5–5.5 Kg And it’s heart 12-21 Kg. Compare it to that of humans. Human brain weighs about 1.5 kg and a human heart weighs between 250-350 gms.
Can you take a guess why elephants can’t jump? It is because of their gigantic size. Elephants don’t have leg muscles strong enough and leg bones springy enough to elevate them in the air.While elephants can’t jump, they are excellent swimmers. They use their trunk as a snorkel to breathe in the air for long distances swim. Did you know that elephant trunk is a fusion of its upper lip and nose?
Trunk can be useful in many other ways too. Elephants move and coil their trunk in all directions to collect food, to clean their eyes and ears, to protect themselves, and to spray water on themselves so that they can clean themselves up.
Another peculiar feature of an elephant is its tusks.
Tusks are nothing but teeth gone extra long!! Wonder if animals had a dentist, would elephants still have tusks? The incisors of the upper jaw grow pointy and long to become tusks. They help the animal in many ways. Tusks are used to dig food and water, to mark or clear trees or to defend themselves in a fight. Like you have a preference of using the left hand or right, elephants have a preference with their tusks. Some prefer to use the left ones and some prefer to use right tusks.
Mr. Big ears? A perfect name for an elephant.
They have large ears that stand out on their huge bodies. Why such large ears? Elephants ears have a network of blood vessels all over. In a hot climate, warm blood flows into these vessels. As the animal flaps it’s ears, the blood cools down, bringing the body temperature down.
Elephants are very emotional and intelligent species. If a baby elephant is uncomfortable, the entire family will huddle and touch to comfort it. They recognise long lost friends and greet them in their own cheerful way. Ever seen two elephants wrapping their trunks? That is one way of greeting and showing affection. They sometimes pay tribute to their dead standing still and silent for several minutes. They also make very interesting parents.
Few other interesting facts about elephants:
There are two species of elephants- Asian and African
African elephants have bigger ears to combat hotter climate.
Daddy elephant is a bull, mommy elephant is a cow and baby elephant is a calf.
Elephant can totally recognise itself in front of the mirror.
Talk about beauty. Elephants use mud on their skin as sun screen.
Humans are a bigger threat to elephants than any other animal.
Mummy elephant keeps baby elephant in the tummy for 22 months- almost 2 years!!