Welcome to my first full post! I figured I should start with something close to me, and so I decided to do the elephant, which is my favorite animal. I figure that I will start with photos of the species, then move to the taxonomy, and then the stats of the species and finish with fun facts. Well, here we go!
To start with, there are three main species of elephants:
African Bush Elephant- Loxodonta Africana (ABE)
Asian Elephant- Elephas Maximus (AE)
African Forest Elephant- Loxodonta Cyclotis (AFE)
Genus #1: Loxodonta
Species: Loxodonta Cyclotis
Species: Loxodonta Africana
Genus #2: Elephas
Species: Elephas Maximus
Infant Asian Elephant
Weight: 6,000-12,000 Lbs (AE), 4,000-10,000 Lbs (AFE), 6,600-13,000 (ABE)
Height: 7.3-8.9 Ft Tall (AE), 7.3-8.9 Ft Tall (AFE), 9.2-11 Ft Tall (ABE)
Diet: Grasses, small plants, bushes, fruits, twigs, roots, and tree bark
Range: India & Southeast Asia (AE), Central African Mountains (AFE), East African Grasslands (ABE)
Habitat: Southeast Asian Rainforests (AE), Central African Rainforests (AFE), African Savannah (ABE)
Life Span: 50–60 Years (AE), 60-70 Years (AFE), 60-70 Years (ABE)
Number of Young: 1 for all species
Conservation Status: Endangered (AE), Vulnerable (AFE), Vulnerable (ABE)
- The elephant trunk has more than 40,000 muscles in it.
- Elephants have greeting ceremonies when a friend that has been away for some time returns to the group.
- Elephants pay homage to the bones of their dead, gently touching the skulls and tusks with their trunks and feet. when an elephant walks past a place that a loved one has died, he/she will stop dead still; a silent and empty pause that can last several minutes.
- Elephants can swim – they use their trunk to breathe like a snorkel in deep water.
- Elephants prefer one tusk over the other, just as people are either left or right-handed.
- Elephants have four molars, one on the top and one on the bottom on both sides of the mouth. One molar can weigh about five pounds and is the size of a brick!
- The largest elephant on record was an adult male African elephant. It weighed about 24,000 pounds and was 13 feet tall at the shoulder!
- An elephant’s skin is an inch thick.
- Elephants have a highly developed brain and the largest of all the land mammals. The brain is 3 or 4 times larger than that of humans although smaller as a proportion of body weight.
- The average weight for an elephant heart is about 27 to 46 pounds!
- Elephant feet are covered in a soft padding that help uphold their weight, prevent them from slipping, and dull any sound. Therefore elephants can walk almost silently!
- Elephants have the longest pregnancy of all the animals. It takes a female 22 months from conception to give birth.
- Elephants are social creatures. They sometimes “hug” by wrapping their trunks together in displays of greeting and affection.
- An elephant is capable of hearing sound waves well below our human hearing limitation. The far reaching use of high pressure infrasound opens the elephant’s spatial experience far beyond our limited capabilities.
- Elephants are highly sensitive and caring animals. If a baby elephant complains, the entire family will rumble and go over to touch and caress it. Elephants express grief, compassion, self-awareness, altruism and play.
- Elephants have large, thin ears. Their ears are made up of a complex network of blood vessels which regulate an elephant’s temperature. Blood is circulated through their ears to cool them down in hot climates.
- Elephants use their feet to listen, they can pick up sub-sonic rumblings made by other elephants, through vibrations in the ground. Elephants are observed listening by putting trunks on the ground and carefully positioning their feet.
- Elephants cry, play, have incredible memories, and laugh.
- The elephant’s trunk is able to sense the size, shape and temperature of an object. An elephant uses its trunk to lift food and suck up water then pour it into its mouth.
- Elephants waive their trunks up in the air and from side to side to smell better.
Next time I’ll tell a story from mythology. See you soon!
Photo credits – Defenders of Wildlife, Dreamicus, National Zoo, MakeWealthHistory, National Geograhic