The elephant is one of the most easily recognisable animals in the whole wide world. African elephants and Asian elephants are true gentle giants. Many of us have seen them in zoos, and some of us have even been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them in their natural habitats. A gentle giant of nature, the elephant is a truly amazing creature, that without the help of conservationists and charities, could be completely wiped out within a matter of decades. The sad truth is that their habitats are being crushed to make way for infrastructure projects, and poachers are still taking aim to at these beautiful beasts to meet the demands of the illegal ivory trade.

The largest African elephants can stand in excess of 13 feet (4 meters) tall at the shoulder. How does an African elephant grow to be 13 feet tall and weigh over 14,000 pounds? By eating a lot! Scientists estimate that the largest elephants can eat more than 300 pounds of food in a single day.

Although they were long grouped together as one species, scientists have determined that there are actually two species of African elephants—and that both are at risk of extinction. Savanna elephants are larger animals that roam the plains of sub-Saharan Africa, while forest elephants are smaller animals that live in the forests of Central and West Africa. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists savanna elephants as endangered and forest elephants as critically endangered.

Elephant Social Behaviour

Elephants are social animals who tend to live in large groups. They are known for their ability to stay within “family” groups for the duration of their lives, and never stray far from their own mothers. It is definitely a case of “girl power” in the elephant world as the females and their young live in breeding herds, whilst the males are often cast aside.

There is usually one leader, the matriarch, who is often the oldest female, with the rest of the herd being made up of her own offspring. Being the oldest, she has the experience and knowledge that will ensure the survival of the herd in times of hardship. She will take them to water and food beyond their usual range, and teach them how to protect themselves from danger.  Young females will usually stay with the herd, whilst the males leave the herd during adolescence (between the ages of 10 and 19 years) to lead the life of a more solitary bull elephant.

Bull elephants are also known as “bachelors” and often seen with other male elephants to form small groups of their own. Family life is definitely all about mums and their babies, although the male elephants are usually not too far away, keeping an eye on their offspring.

How Much Does An Elephant Eat A Day?

Elephants are gigantic animals and this means that they need to find an eat an awful lot of food. Their daily food intake is almost as much as 4-7% of their body weight. African elephants can eat as much as 330 Ibs (150 kg) of food a day.

How Do Elephants Give Birth?

Like other mammals, female elephants give birth to fairly developed babies via her birth canal.
An elephant pregnancy lasts around 22 months, meaning that new born baby elephants are not small! A baby elephant is called a calf and can weigh between 200 and 300 lbs and stand about 3 feet (1 m) tall.

How Many Babies Do Elephants Have?

Typically, elephants only give birth to one calf at a time, although twins do sometimes occur. In her lifetime (elephants can live for up to 70 years in the wild!), a female elephant can give birth to as many as 12 calves.
Not as many as babies you might think? Well that’s because the average gestation (pregnancy) period for a female elephant is a whopping 22 months. That’s a long time!

How Much Do Elephants Weigh?

That depends on which elephant you are talking about. There are two species of elephants found in the world: African and Asian elephants.

How Much Does An African Elephant Weigh?

African elephants are the giants, even by elephant standards. An adult male can carry a full 6 tons with gentle grace. Generally, the females are slightly more petite; however, they can still weigh in at a whopping 3.6 tons or more sometimes.

How Many Teeth Do Elephants Have?

Elephants usually have 26 teeth at any one time. Throughout their lives, elephants have six sets of teeth that grow one set after another. By the time they reach their 50’s, most elephant have started to use their final set which is needed to last for the rest of their life.

Is It True That An Elephant Never Forgets?

Elephants do have remarkable memories. In the wild, elephants appear to remember for years the relationships with dozens, perhaps hundreds of other elephants, some of whom they may see only occasionally. They also have an impressive memory for places to drink and to find food. This information gets passed on from generation to generation. 

Why Do Elephants Flap Their Ears?

African elephants are famous for their very large ears. They are designed this way to pump blood around them to help cool the elephant down under the hot African sun. The more the ears flap, the hotter the elephant is.

What Is The Full Purpose Of The Elephant’s Trunk?

The trunk combines both nose and upper lip and transforms them into a single powerful organ that is able to touch, grasp and smell. It is strong enough to uproot a tree, sensitive enough to pick up a pea-sized fruit from the ground, and long enough to reach foliage high in the trees. The trunk is also used to drink by sucking up water and squirting it into the mouth. Finally, elephants use their trunks for greeting, caressing, threatening, and throwing dust over the body.

How Thick Is Elephant Skin?

The skin of an elephant can be up to 2.5 cm thick in places. Despite this, elephants have very sensitive skin and use mud and dust baths to protect their skin from burning in the sun, and to get rid of skin parasites.

How Much Does A Baby Elephant Weigh?

How many tons is an elephant at birth? A baby elephant weighs an enormous 77-113 kg (0.077-0.113 tons). Newborn elephants are tiny in comparison to their parents, weighing only around 2-4% of an adult’s size. They will consume roughly 11.4 liters of their mother’s milk each and every day.

Much like humans, elephants are born with an under-developed brain. Some researchers like to call their first few months out of the womb a final “trimester” – that’s if you want to use the same terminology applied to humans.

How Far Do Elephants Walk In A Day?

Despite their massive size, elephants are actually pretty nimble and can walk up to 195 km per day, although they usually only average is only 25 km on a daily basis.

How Much Does An Elephant’s Brain Weigh?

Elephants are extremely intelligent creatures and an elephant’s brain can weigh as much as 4-6 kg. No wonder they say that an elephant never forgets!

How Long Is An Elephant’s Trunk?

An elephant’s trunk is usually around 6 feet in length, but can be up to 7 feet long. The trunk alone can weigh as much as 140 kg and can hold 12 litres of water.

How Fast Do Elephants Run?

Elephants can run faster than you would expect, easily reaching speeds of 40 mph – a lot faster than us humans can run!

Are Elephants Mammals?

Elephants are the world’s largest land mammal. They’re warm-blooded vertebrates that nurse their young with milk produced by mammary glands, and they’re hairy creatures (the hairs are just small and sparse, so they don’t look furry). That means they fulfil all the requirements to be mammals.

How Long Is Elephant Gestation Or Pregnancy?

Elephants have one of the longest known gestations – or pregnancies – of any animal. African elephants have a gestation period of 22 months, while Asian elephants have a gestation period of 18-22 months. Elephants will typically only give birth two or three times in a decade, and young elephants may suckle for a few years.

Threats To Survival

Poaching for the illegal ivory trade is the biggest threat to African elephants’ survival. Before the Europeans began colonizing Africa, there may have been as many as 26 million elephants. By the early 20th century, their numbers had dropped to 10 million. Hunting continued to increase. By 1970, their numbers were down to 1.3 million. Between 1970 and 1990, hunting and poaching put the African elephant at risk of extinction, reducing its population by another half.

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