The following facts about these big and lovely creatures are less known and would make you love them even more.
Elephants are the world’s largest animals, living in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Traditionally, two species of these amazing giants are recognized, the African elephant and the Asian elephant. But people, as usual are the main reason for their habitat destruction, so the world´s population of elephants has been drastically decreasing. African elephants are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, while the Asian elephant is classed as endangered. The following facts about these big and lovely creatures are less known and would make you love them even more.
1 They love water
Elephants love water, we already know that. They like to swim, dive into the water and find great fun in fighting the waves. It also gives their joints a break with the buoyancy they get from the water.
2 There’s no such thing as a drunken elephant
All those stories of African elephants getting drunk from the fermented marula fruit are not true. The animals don’t eat the fruit off the ground where it ferments, and even if they did, it would take about 1,400 pieces to get one elephant drunk.
3 People kill them because of ivory
The main reason why elephants are massively killed by poachers is their tusks. Although scientific research proved the ivory consists of dentine, a tissue that is similar to bone actually has no special effects or qualities.
4 Their trucks are mighty strong
Although the elephant trunk is really huge, weighing about 400 pounds, it is so dexterous it can pick up very tiny things including a single grain of rice.
5 Elephant skin
Although their skin looks hard and rough, elephant’s skin is so sensitive that they can feel a fly landing on it. Surreal.
6 Elephants were used as war and transport animals
From ancient times, elephants have been used as working animals for various tasks. Since bulls can be difficult and dangerous to work with, they have often been chained and sometimes even abused. Historically, elephants were also considered even formidable instruments of war. Disgusting way of exploitation of these naturally peaceful creatures.
7 They have a wonderful memory
Elephants are popularly thought that they have incredible memory. This could have a factual basis; they possibly have cognitive maps to allow them to remember large-scale spaces over long periods of time.
8 Elephants live as long as humans do
The average lifespan for an elephant in the wild is about 50 to 70 years. The oldest elephant ever was Lin Wang, an Asian elephant, who died on February 2003 at the age of 86.
9 Their trumpeting is their way of communicating
Elephants produce several types of sounds. Perhaps the most well known is the trumpet, which is made during excitement, distress or aggression. They can hear one another´s trumpeting up to 6 miles.
10 They too, touch each other
Touching is an important form of communication among elephants. Individuals greet each other by stroking or wrapping their trunks. Older elephants also use trunk-slaps, kicks and shoves to discipline younger ones.
11 They are one of the most emotional animals
Elephants are capable of human-like emotions such as feeling loss, grieving and even crying. They remember and mourn their loved ones, even many years after their death. When the “Elephant Whisperer” Lawrence Anthony died, a herd of elephants arrived at his house to mourn him.
12 They are most definitely not afraid of mice
Elephants are not scared of mice as some myths suggest. However, they are scared of ants and bees. Consequently, farmers in some African countries protect their fields from elephants by lining the borders with beehives.
13 Elephants know how to protect their skin
Elephants use mud as a sunscreen, protecting their skin from ultraviolet light. Although tough, their skin is very sensitive. Without the regular mud baths to protect it from burning, insect bites, and moisture loss, their skin suffers serious damage.
14 They can recognize themselves in the mirror
Just like human toddlers, great apes, magpies and dolphins, elephants have passed the mirror test and they recognize themselves in a mirror. Adorable.