Whether you love or hate them, the fact remains that elephants are fascinating animals, and there’s no shortage of interesting facts about them to learn. From their specialized trunks to the size of their brains and everything in between, elephants are one of the most diverse species on the planet, and they’re also one of the most intelligent species in the animal kingdom. If you’re interested in learning some top 10 facts about elephants, here are 10 fascinating elephant facts that you probably didn’t know yet!
1. There are two types of elephant ears
There are two types of elephant ears, called pinnae and tragus. The pinnae are the outer ear, which can be seen at the top of an elephant’s head. The tragus is the inner ear, which is hidden by hair on top of their head.
2. Female elephants have four mammary glands
Female elephants have four mammary glands, which means they can produce milk for as many babies. On average, a female elephant will only have one or two offspring in her lifetime. A baby calf nurses on its mother’s first pair of nipples, called the master teats, during the first six months of its life and then moves to the next pair of nipples. Baby elephants nurse up to eight hours per day and drink 150-300 liters of milk each day! They also eat grasses and leaves from trees to help with digestion and keep their intestines moving.
3. Baby elephants are born up to 10 pounds
Baby elephants are born up to 10 pounds and start running hours after being born. They are considered adults at the age of 12, but can live as long as 80 years. In captivity, they can live up to 90 years old. Females stay with their mothers for life while males will leave and establish their own herds. There are only two species in existence: African and Asian Elephants. The largest known elephant died in 2006 weighing more than 24 tons!
4. A baby elephant drinks 200 L a day!
Elephants are the largest living land mammals in the world. They can grow to be up to 13 feet tall and weigh up to 12,000 pounds. They drink 200 liters of water a day, that’s enough for 2 people! A baby elephant drinks an incredible 200 litres of water each day when it is just a few months old. In fact, their stomachs can hold about 150 litres at one time and their trunks help them suck up all that precious moisture from the ground like a straw through a soda bottle.
5. Elephant footprints can stay visible in soft mud for days
Elephant footprints can stay visible in soft mud for days, which makes them an important tool for tracking the animals’ movements. These prints are also a telltale sign of elephants’ presence, even when they’re not present.
6. The oldest elephant is 59 years old
The oldest elephant in the world was born on October 23, 1959. She is a Sri Lankan elephant named Grandma, who lives at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Her name means mother and she has been taking care of babies for most of her life. At 59 years old, she is only four years older than the United States of America!
7. African elephant trunks contain more than 100,000 muscles
African elephants have two muscular trunks that serve as their upper lip, nose, and mouth. They contain more than 100,000 muscles. The trunks act like an elephant’s hands and can pick up objects as small as a blade of grass or as large as a young tree. Their trunk also has finger-like features at the end that allow them to grab food with precision and then move it to their mouth.
8. Elephants are the only mammals that cannot jump
- An elephant’s trunk is actually a nose and upper lip combined into one long organ, with over 100,000 muscles in it! In fact, the trunk contains more muscles than any other part of an elephant’s body except for the heart.
- The tip of the elephant’s trunk can be used to pick up and manipulate objects.
- The weight of an adult African elephant is about 5 tons and it stands about 9 feet tall at the shoulder when fully grown.
9. Elephants eat around 300 pounds of vegetation a day!
Elephants are the largest land animals on Earth and are one of the most-recognized symbols of nature. The African elephant’s diet consists mainly of grass, leaves, fruit and bark from trees. An adult male elephant eats about 300 pounds (136 kilograms) of vegetation a day!
10. Asian elephants live up to 70 years in the wild, and 50 years in captivity
Asian elephants live up to 70 years in the wild, and 50 years in captivity. They eat around 300 pounds of food per day and are social animals who live in herds. They are also considered threatened and endangered because their numbers have declined by at least one-third over the past three generations due to habitat loss, degradation, fragmentation and poaching for ivory.