Who doesn’t love an elephant? We all know Nellie, Dumbo and Barbar and on World Elephant Day, on August 12th, we celebrate the amazing African and Asian elephants of the world. They are gentle giants - sensitive animals who can express emotions such as happiness and grief and like us, humans, they love to play!
These are our top 10 extraordinary elephant facts:
- The elephant’s trunk is a fusion of its nose and upper lip. It is the elephant’s most important limb and has an incredible 40,000 muscles. Their trunk is sensitive enough to pick up a blade of grass and strong enough to wrench the branches off a tree.
- Elephants are excellent swimmers and use their terrific trunks as snorkels whilst crossing rivers of any depth.
- These incredible animals can weigh up to a massive six tonnes! Elephants can’t jump or gallop, they’re physically too heavy to lift off the ground.
- Touching is an important part of elephant behaviour. They use their trunks to communicate with each other and even to tell each other off! Baby elephants often lock trunks with their mother or other younger elephants in the herd for comfort.
- An elephant’s gestation period is longer than any other mammal. They’re pregnant for a whopping 22 months and their newborn babies are born blind.
- Elephants have evolved a sixth toe which starts off as cartilage attached to the animal’s big toe but is converted to bone as the elephant gets older. Their average life span is 50-70 years.
- Elephants have been known to detect a thunderstorm from 280km away and head towards it looking for water.
- Elephants produce a lot of methane gas! Scientists estimate that the amount of methane they emit in one day would be enough to power a car for 32km.
- Male and female African elephants grow long impressive tusks, but only male Asian elephants do (and not all males). Some female Asian elephants grow ‘tushes’ which are barely visible, stumpy tusks.
- Unlike all other mammals, elephants don’t replace baby teeth with permanent adult teeth. They have a constant tooth rotation cycle throughout their lives.
Have a peek behind the scenes on our 'Elephant photoshoot' and see what we got upto....