1. They’re the world’s largest animal
The African Savanna (Bush) elephant is the world’s largest land animal – with adult males, or bull elephants, standing up to 3m high and weighing up to 6,000kg on average.
Males only reach their full size at 35-40 years – that’s well over half their lifespan as wild elephants can live for up to 60-70 years.
And it’s not just the adults – even calves are huge! At birth, a baby elephant can weigh 120kg – that’s almost 19 stone.
2. You can tell the three species apart by their ears
There are three species of elephant: African Savanna (Bush), African Forest and Asian. The ears of African elephants are much larger than their cousins and are described as being shaped like the African continent, whereas the ears of Asian elephants are shaped like the Indian subcontinent.
There’s also a trunk difference – African elephants have two ‘fingers’ at the tip of their trunks, whereas Asian elephants have one.
3. Their trunks have mad skills
Elephants have around 150,000 muscle units in their trunk. Their trunks are perhaps the most sensitive organ found in any mammal.
Elephants use their trunks to suck up water to drink – it can contain up to 8 litres of water. They also use their trunks as a snorkel when swimming.
4. Their tusks are actually teeth
Elephant tusks are actually enlarged incisor teeth which first appear when elephants are around 2 years old. Tusks continue growing throughout their lives.
Tusks are used to help with feeding – prising bark off trees or digging up roots – or as a defense when fighting.
But these beautiful tusks often cause elephants danger. They’re made from ivory; a much desired object. Read on to find out why elephants are under threat.
5. They’ve got thick skin
An elephant’s skin is 2.5cm thick in most places. The folds and wrinkles in their skin can retain up to 10 times more water than flat skin does, which helps to cool them down.
They keep their skin clean and protect themselves from sunburn by taking regular dust and mud baths.