The gentle giant of the animal kingdom

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Friday, 8 February 2008.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • Most elephants live in the grasslands of Africa and in the forests of Asia.
  • The elephant is the largest terrestrial animal on earth.
  • The elephant is the largest land mammal.
  • The elephant is the second tallest member of the animal kingdom - only the giraffe is taller.
  • Elephants stomp when they walk.
  • Elephants sleep standing up, sometimes leaning against a tree or another elephant.
  • Sometimes baby elephants lie down to sleep.
  • Elephants poop 25 to 35 kilos in one day.
  • The average elephant lives 70 years.
  • An elephant can be pregnant for up to two years.
  • An elephant's trunk contains more than 50,000 muscles.
  • The elephant feeds for about 16 hours per day, and sleeps for the rest.
  • Elephants are the only animal with four knees.
  • An elephant can smell water more than four kilometres away.
  • An elephant may consume 225 kilos of hay and 225 litres of water in a single day.
  • All elephants walk on tip-toe because the back portion of their foot is made up of all fat and no bone.
  • African bull elephants have 1.5 to two-metre penises.
  • Elephants are sensitive fellow animals whereby if a baby complains, the entire family will rumble and go over to touch and caress it.
  • Elephants cool off by fanning their ears. This cools the blood in their ears that then goes to the rest of their body and cools them off.
  • Elephants love water and are very good swimmers.
  • Elephants can't jump.
  • Some male elephants can grow to be four metres tall - more than twice as tall as many human adults.
  • Elephants can weigh as much as a school bus - between 4.5 and 6.5 tonnes.
  • The trunk is nothing more than an elongation of their nose and upper lip. Besides being used for breathing and smelling it is also used as an appendage, much like an arm or hand.
  • Elephants are capable of pulling up to 11.5 litres of water into the trunk to be sprayed into the mouth for drinking or onto the back for bathing.
  • Their trunks have two-finger-like projections at the tip to manipulate small objects and to pluck grasses.
  • When elephants travel, they walk very quietly in single file. Young elephants are led by the older elephants with their tails.
  • They can run 38 kph for short distances.
  • According to the Guinness Book of Records, the biggest elephant ever recorded was a male African elephant from Angola that weighed over 10.5 tonnes.
  • An elephant's trunk has two finger-like projections at the end that can be used to pick up food or other things, to pluck berries from a bush, or to probe and examine objects.
  • An elephant makes a trumpeting noise with its trunk if it feels threatened.
  • The tusks of a male elephant, or bull, grow longer and heavier over the course of its life, reaching over three metres long and over 90 kilos.
  • It is not uncommon for an elephant to favour one tusk over another, and for the favoured tusk to be shorter than the other tusk.

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