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30 Fascinating & Fun Facts About Elephants

by Sankalan Baidya
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Fascinating and Fun Facts About Elephants

In our last article on facts about elephants, we mostly concentrated on generic information about their habitat, eating habits, reproduction etc. We really did not focus on the unusual facts that really make this massive animal interesting in real sense. Let us now focus of 30 such fascinating and fun facts about elephants. You may already know some or perhaps all of them but consider this a nice refresher.

Fun Facts About Elephants: 1-10

1. Did you know that apart from the Neanderthals and humans, elephants are the only living beings on this planet that have proper death rituals? Isn’t that pretty amazing. They actually dig shallow graves for their dead and cover the bodies with branches and dirt. They even mourn for days.

2. Not just that, particular elephant can actually show severe depression signs if it happened to be very close to the deceased elephant.

3. While elephants maintain death rituals for their herd members they also pay same respect to any lone elephant which ends up dying alone.

4. Elephants also tend for their sick and try to revive other peers who are on death bed. For sick, members of the herd will usually help them stand and bring food and water. For those on death bed, the herd members will do the same. Also, once an elephant dies, other members of the herd will try to revive that elephant by giving food and water for some time.

5. Elephants are extremely intelligent. This intelligence comes from their massive 5 kg-brain which is full of complex folds. Of all land animals, elephants have the maximum number of complex folds. In case you didn’t know, number of folds in a brain is an indicative of intelligence.

6. Elephants are known to routinely display learning abilities, playfulness, self-awareness and cooperation. They can also use several tools. They have compassion, humor and grief as well.

7. When it comes to remembering and tracking multiple object in 3D space, humans are easily outwitted by elephants, thanks to their highly developed hippocampus (it is a region of brain), which gives them excellent spatial and emotional awareness.

8. There are various reports of elephants displaying altruism. In other words, they actually show selfless concern for other animals. According to various reports, elephants have been often spotted helping distressed dogs even though such acts have come for high costs.

9. Their massive ears are not just for keeping them cool or just a proportionately big body part. They are blessed with excellent hearing abilities to. They are capable of listening the trumpets of other elephants even at a distance of 8 kilometers or 5 miles.

10. Elephants are really scared of bees! Yeah, we are speaking about those tiny flying insects that are known for making honey and delivering really painful stings. Oh yes! They are also afraid of ants.

Fun Facts About Elephants: 11-20

11. There are only two mammals in this world that have chins. Yes, guess it right! Elephants and humans share this feature.

12. These massive animals are really small sleepers. They sleep for no more than 2 to 3 hours in a single day.

13. The most sought after body part of elephants – the tusks are really heavy. A single pair can easily weigh 200 kilograms or 441 lbs.

14. African elephants are really smart. They are capable of distinguishing human age, human gender and human languages that are usually associated with gender. In other words, they know how a dangerous man looks and sounds like.

15. Elephants have excellent sense of smell. They can smell water from a distance of whooping 12 miles.

16. When an elephant hears a human voice, it is capable of recognizing the human’s gender and ethnicity.

17. Their brains are really splendid. They can actually sense rain from a distance of 150 miles!

18. Though it is really the largest land mammal as of date, it has really tiny sperm. An elephant’s sperm is actually smaller than that of a mouse’s sperm.

19. When we point, we know that dogs can immediately and instinctively understand that. However, dogs aren’t the only ones! Even elephants have this instinctive understanding.

20. When it comes to reproductive anatomy, female elephants hold the record of having the longest among any land mammal. Did you know that a female elephant’s vagina is 1.3 meters inside its body?

Fun Facts About Elephants: 21-30

21. Elephants have 40 copies of P53 gene which is responsible for coding the protein which suppresses cancer. We humans have only two copies! This is the reason why elephants don’t easily get cancer!

22. In Thailand, elephants eat black ivory beans and then they poop it out. The reaction in their gut gives distinctive early flavor to the beans. These beans are then plucked out from the dung after one day and is used to produce one of the most expensive coffees in the world!

23. In Africa, 96 elephants get killed every single day! This massacre is done mostly by poachers who go for the unique ivory tusks.

24. Elephants mourn for their peers but they are also known for mourning the death of humans. After the death of Lawrence Anthony – the famous elephant whisperer, a whole herd of elephants visited his house for mourning!

25. So wicked was Thomas Edison that just in order to prove that Nikola Tesla’s AC current was inferior and dangerous, he brutally electrocuted an adult elephant!

26. In the whole of elephant kingdom, elephants are crowned as supreme when it comes to smelling sense. Not even dogs can compete with them.

27. The largest elephant on record till date was known as Jumbo. He was a bush elephant from Africa and was born in 1861 and then taken to French Zoo and then to a zoo in England and finally he was sent to America where he died after being hit by a train at full speed. He died at the age of 24. Jumbo was 13 feet tall at the shoulder and weighed a staggering 10,886 kilograms or 24,000 pounds.

28. This massive elephant absolutely loves water. It loves to swim and it loves wrestling against the waves. Water’s buoyancy actually helps elephants to ease their joints.

29. In our previous article we mentioned that elephants have sensitive skin. But just how sensitive? Well, they can actually sense when a fly sits on their skin.

30. Elephants usually have a lifespan of 50 to 70 years. Only one Asian elephant named Lin Wang survived for 86 years!

Bonus Facts About Elephants

i. Elephants are so heavy that they cannot take all four legs off the ground at the same time. This is why they cannot gallop, jump or trot. However, they are capable of moving backwards.

ii. On land, elephants are definitely the biggest but put them in comparison to blue whales and elephants should die shame! A blue whale’s tongue is heavy enough to outweigh an adult elephant.

iii. Elephants have sensory cells located in their feet, which allows them to detect seismic signals. Not just that ground vibrates, it produces a deep-pitched sound which can travel right through the front feet of an elephant and through the shoulder bones, into the brain allowing the elephant to actually hear the sound. Humans cannot hear that sound.

iv. Elephants are very much capable of recognizing themselves in mirrors.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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