Elephants are the largest land animal in the world. In fact, the largest elephant ever recorded was an adult male African elephant that weighed 24,000 pounds and was 13 feet tall, when measured at the shoulder. Take a look below for 30 more fun and interesting facts about elephants.
1. Elephants are one of the only mammals that can’t jump.
2. They can live to be over 70 years old.
3. Elephants have a highly developed brain, it’s also the largest out of all land mammals. Their brian is 3 to 4 times larger than a humans, although it’s much smaller in proportion to body weight.
4. The average weight of an elephant heart is between 27 to 46 pounds.
5. Their skin is an inch thick.
6. When they’re 16 years old, they can begin to reproduce. However, they will rarely have more than 4 offspring throughout their lifetime. At birth, an elephant calf can weigh up to 230 pounds.
7. Elephants have very bad eyesight, but an amazing sense of smell.
8. They have the longest pregnancy period out of all animals. Female elephants take 22 months from conception to give birth.
9. Elephants prefer one tusk over the other, just as humans prefer one hand over the other.
10. Like cats, elephants sometimes purr as a means of communication.
11. Tusks are an elephants incisor teeth. They use their tusks for defense, digging for water and lifting things.
12. An elephant trunk has more than 40,000 muscles in it.
13. They have 4 molars, one on the top and one on the bottom on both sides of their mouth. One molar can weigh about 5 pounds and be the size of a brick.
14. Elephants waive their trunk up in the air and from side to side in order to smell better.
15. An elephants trunk is able to sense the size, temperature and shape of an object. They use their trunk to lift food and suck up water then put it into their mouth.
16. Elephants are known to cry, play, have very good memory and even laugh.
17. They’re covered in a soft padding that helps uphold their weight, prevent them from slipping and dull most sounds. This is why they can walk almost silently even though they weigh thousands of pounds.
18. They’re capable swimmers. They use their trunk to breathe like a snorkel when in deep water.
19. Elephants use their feet to listen to sounds. They can pick up subsonic rumblings made by other elephants through vibrations in the ground.
20. They’ve been observed listening by putting their trunks on the ground and carefully positioning their feet.
21. They’re very sensitive and caring animals. For example, if an elephant offspring complains, the entire family will rumble to go caress it.
22. Elephants are able to express grief, compassion, self-awareness, altruism and even play.
23. They’ve been observed having greeting ceremonies when a friend has been away for a long time and returns to the larger group.
24. They have large and thin ears. Their ears are made up of a network of blood vessels that regulate an elephant’s body temperature. Their blood is circulated through their ears to help cool them down in extremely hot climates.
25. They’re very social creatures and are known to “hug” by wrapping their trunk together in displays of greeting and affection.
26. They have been observed hearing sound waves that are well below a human’s hearing limitation. The far reaching use of high pressure infrasound open the elephant’s spatial experience far beyond our limited capability.
27. Stories of African elephants getting drunk from the fermented marula fruit aren’t true. They animals don’t eat the fruit off the ground where it ferments, and even if they did, due to the elephants large size it would take about 1,400 pieces to get one elephant drunk.
28. The main reasons elephants are poached is because of their tusks. While there is a strong demand for ivory tusks, scientific research has shown that ivory is made out of the same tissue that human bone is made out of and it has no species effects or qualities.
29. Elephant skin is so sensitive that they can feel a fly landing on it.
30. Ancient civilizations used elephants as working animals. Since bulls are difficult and dangerous to work with, elephants were a lot easier to control and were used as formidable instruments of war.