25 Cool And Absolutely Extraordinary Elephant Facts

Posted by , Updated on September 16, 2014

Scattered throughout sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia, elephants are the world´s largest land animals. Traditionally, two species of these amazing giants are recognized, the African elephant and the Asian elephant. Because of numerous reasons such as poaching or habitat destruction, 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. To raise awareness of these beautiful, intelligent and peaceful mammals, we made a list of 25 little known elephant facts.

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Elephants love water. 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.

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Elephant females can have babies until they are about 50 years old. They tend to have a new baby every 2 and half to 4 years. They usually have one baby, twins are very rare.

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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.

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The main reason why elephants are massively killed by poachers is their tusks. Although scientific researches proved the ivory consists of dentine, a tissue that is similar to bone and has no special effects or qualities.

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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.

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An Elephant’s skin is so sensitive that they can feel a fly landing on it.

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Newborn elephants can stand up shortly after the birth. They are born blind, weighing up to 260 pounds.

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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.

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Elephants are popularly thought of as having an excellent 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.

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The average life span 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The closest living relatives to elephants are hyraxes, small, thickset, herbivorous mammals often mistaken for rodents.

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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.

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Elephants can move forwards and backwards, but cannot trot, jump, or gallop. They are so heavy that they basically cannot get all four legs off the ground at the same time.

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In the terrestrial world, elephants are giants but compared to whales, they’re more like dwarfs. A blue whale´s tongue alone can weigh as much as a single adult elephant.

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Elephants can detect seismic signals with sensory cells in their feet. They can also “hear” these deep-pitched sounds when ground vibrations travel from the animal’s front feet, up its leg and shoulder bones, and into its middle ear.

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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.

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Elephants are avid eaters. Daily, they can be feeding for up to 16 hours and consume up to 600 pounds of food.

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Like human toddlers, great apes, magpies and dolphins, elephants have passed the mirror test — they recognize themselves in a mirror.

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Unlike most mammals, which grow baby teeth and then replace them with a single permanent set of adult teeth, elephants are polyphyodonts that have cycles of tooth rotation throughout their lives.

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The trunk of an elephant has more than 40,000 muscles in it.

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The largest elephant on record weighed 26,000 pounds and was 13 feet high.

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Elephant females undergo the longest gestation period of all mammals - they are pregnant for 22 months.

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If you enjoyed these awesome elephant facts, then you’ll get a kick out of these 25 Cool And Absolutely Extraordinary Dolphin Facts.

SEE ALSO: 25 Deep Sea Mysteries And Oddities That Will Leave You Baffled »

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