Elephants Top the Charts in Life-Span and Size


You probably didn’t know that elephants are very social and intelligent, or that they can weigh up to seven tons. There are so many fascinating facts about elephants.

There are two types of elephants: the Asiatic elephant and the African elephant. Asiatic elephants reside in India, China, and Asia. The African elephant inhabits savanna, deserts, forests, river valleys, and marshes in protected areas of Africa.

Elephants are the largest land-dwelling mammals on earth. They have huge trunks with more than 150,000 bands of muscle. These trunks are very strong; they can even pick up heavy logs. Elephants also use their trunks for feeding, smelling, and communicating with others in the herd. Elephants have large heads with ears that resemble fans. In fact, elephant ears serve the same purpose as fans. By flapping their ears, they rid themselves of excess body heat. Another distinctive feature of elephants is their tusks. Though female Asiatic elephants usually lack tusks, male and female African elephants have them.

Elephants are very vocal and make noises in different frequencies to communicate. For example, low frequency trumpet calls are used to sound an alarm, while high frequency sounds are used to express moods.

A herd of elephants is made up of related females, because females stay in their mother’s herd from birth, while males go off to find mates. The female elephants in a herd share the job of taking care of the young and are very protective. They even circle around the young elephants when in danger.

Not only are elephants known for being the largest mammal, but they are also recognized for having the longest life-span of any mammal. They can live to the impressive age of 70.

Elephants are the only remaining species in the order Proboscidea, of which woolly mammoths and mastodons were once a part. Over time, the number of wild elephants significantly dropped because of poaching; ivory from elephant tusks is at a high value in the market. Thankfully, poaching is now illegal, but elephants are still very much endangered.

Although elephants are much fewer in numbers than they were years ago, they continue to be one of the most majestic animals on earth.

[Source: The Encyclopedia of Mammals]

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