Extraordinary Elephants

Interesting facts about the world’s largest land mammal

From the LifeMinute.TV Team

September 22, 2021

National Elephant Appreciation Day is September 22nd. To celebrate the world’s largest land mammal, here are some interesting facts about these tuskers.

Asian elephants can weigh between 5,000 and 11,000 pounds, while African elephants can range from 5,000 pounds to more than 14,000 pounds. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the average African elephant weighs about 12,000 pounds. At birth, an African elephant can weigh between 200-300 pounds.

Elephants may feed up to 16 hours a day. They eat about 250-300 pounds of food per day and can eat up to 600 pounds in a single day. Daily water consumption for an elephant is 25-50 gallons or about 100-200 liters. 

Elephants typically live in warmer regions such as Africa and Asia. Since they do not sweat, they use mud and water to cool off. The mud also acts as sunscreen. Elephants use their ears to help cool themselves down too. By flapping their ears, they can reduce their body temperature by 10 degrees. Elephants also use their large ears for hearing, up to six miles away. They communicate with each other using low-pitch sounds, which the human ear cannot detect.

An elephant's trunk is a long nose. It has up to 40,000 muscles. It's used for breathing, eating, gripping, drinking, smelling, rubbing, and more. Elephants have a powerful sense of smell, which is considered twice as sensitive as a bloodhound. 

Elephant tusks are enlarged incisor teeth made of ivory. In the African elephant, both the male and the female possess tusks. Whereas in the Asian elephant, it is primarily the male that has tusks. Elephants use their tusks for digging, lifting objects, gathering food, and protection. However, their ivory tusks make them a target for poachers. In part, this is why certain types of elephants are endangered.

Elephants are exceptionally intelligent. Their brain weighs about 11-13 pounds and is about four times the size of a human brain. They have the largest brain of any land animal and three times as many neurons as humans. Researchers at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK, found that African elephants can distinguish differences in human gender, age, and ethnicity purely by the sound of someone’s voice. They can show empathy toward each other and mourn their dead too.

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