13 Reminders Why Elephants are the Best

You probably don't need another reason to love elephants, but just in case you do, here are 13 great reasons why elephants are just the best. August 12 is World Elephant Day.

  1. Elephants are the largest land mammal. Despite their size, they can run up to 25 miles per hour! Since one of their feet is always on the ground, technically they're actually speed walking at 25 mph. 
  2. Elephants purr just like cats! Not only do they communicate through trumpet sounds, snorts, roars, cries and purring, elephants pick up sounds of rumbles with their feet and they can hear communications over long distances though the vibrations that come up through their feet and into their ears.
  3. Elephants have deep family bonds. The herd is led by the matriarch (the female head of a family.) Calves are raised by the entire herd. When males are about 12 years old, they leave the herd to live on their own while the females stay with family herd. Females will often stay with their mothers their whole lives so elephants often become great-grandmothers.
  4. Elephants are highly sensitive and caring animals, much like humans. If a baby elephant cries, the herd will touch and caress the baby with their trunks to soothe it. They are highly intelligent animals with complex emotions, feelings, compassion and self-awareness (elephants are one of very few species to recognize themselves in a mirror!). 
  5. The gestation period of an elephant is 22 months. That's almost 2 years, the longest pregnancy of any mammal! Baby elephants are born blind but they are immediately able to stand up and walk. The herd celebrates the birth together during a ceremony of trumpeting and touching.
  6. The average lifespan of an elephant is between 50-70 years old. The oldest recorded elephant is Ling Wang, an Asian elephant, who died in 2003 at the ripe old age of 86.
  7. Like humans, elephants mourn the death of their love ones. They gently touch and caress the skull of deceased loved ones with their trunks, and they will pause for several minutes of silence in the place where their loved one dies, even several years after their death. An elephant never forgets.

  8. Like humans, elephants mourn the death of their love ones. They gently touch and caress the skull of deceased loved ones with their trunks, and will pause for several minutes of silence in the place where their loved one dies several years after their death. An elephant never forgets.
  9. Elephant trunks have over 40,000 muscles which are used for breathing, smelling and communicating. They are capable of picking up something as big and heavy as an average-sized horse to something as tiny as a grain of rice.
  10. Playing in the water isn't just fun for elephants, it's good for them inside and out! When they're able to float, the buoyancy provides their leg joints a much needed break. Mud acts as a sunscreen, bug repellent and moisturizer, which is helpful because elephants have extremely sensitive skin. 
  11. Elephants aren't actually scared of mice, they're scared of bees! African farmers raise bees to keep the elephants away from their crops, the all-natural elephant repellent.
  12. Elephants can eat up to 600 pounds of food a day. That's how much an entire vending machine weighs!
  13. One elephant molar is the size of a brick. Think that's big? The tongue of a blue whale weighs more than an entire elephant. Elephants may be the largest land animal but the blue whale is the largest animal on the planet.
Elephant Picture Books




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