10 amazing elephant facts you need to know
- The African elephant is not just the largest living land animal but it has an enormous brain size to match. Their brains can weigh up to a whopping 5.4kg and are, without doubt, the largest brain of all animals living on land.
- Need help remembering which is an African elephant and which is an Asian elephant? Check out their ears! African elephant ears are, rather helpfully, the shape of Africa.
- Have you ever seen an elephant swim? It’s pretty special! But not only can they swim, did you know they’ve also been spotted using their trunks as a snorkel when crossing rivers?! Now that’s handy…
- Elephant family groups are very close. While they can’t exactly hug each other, elephants do wrap their trunks around younger relatives to reassure them and to greet each other they twine their trunks together.
- Elephants are super smart! They can both learn and feel emotions. If a member of their family group is injured, the rest of the group may come and help it. They also know when a family member is no longer in the herd and it’s a truly heart-breaking sight to see an elephant grieve over the bones of lost family and friends.
- Female elephants have the longest pregnancy of any mammal. It’s a lengthy 22 months before baby elephants are ready to be born!
- Baby elephants stay with mum for up to 10 years. They even learn to eat by putting their trunks inside their mothers’ mouths to take food.
- Did you know elephants can get sunburned? Ouch! These giants bathe in mud to help protect their skin from the sun.
- You definitely don’t want to get in the way of a charging elephant. It’s said they can reach speeds of 40km/h!
- Elephants make sounds that we can’t even hear. Some of their calls are so low, they are below the range of human hearing. And these amazing animals can recognise over 100 different friends from their calls alone.
Bonus fact… it’s not something to celebrate, but here’s why we so desperately need to save elephants.
Adult elephants have no real predators in the wild… except us.
Right now, elephants are fighting for their survival. Despite a ban on international sales ivory in 1989, the illegal trade has expanded, particularly over the last 10 years and is now bigger than ever. The number of elephants being poached for their ivory is unacceptable and we must end this before it’s too late.