Fun Facts About Elephants by Mostafa18


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									Fun Facts About Elephants

An elephant running in the Masai Mara, Kenya (courtesy of flickr user brittanyhock)

1) African and Asian elephant populations are sometimes thought to differ only by the
location of the animals, but, evolutionarily speaking, they are species forest and
savannah elephants as separate genetically as Asian elephants and woolly mammoths.

2) The elephant’s closest living relative is the rock hyrax, a small furry mammal that
lives in rocky landscapes across sub-Saharan Africa and along the coast of the
Arabian peninsula.
3) African elephants are the largest land mammals on the planet, and the females of
this species undergo the longest pregnancy—22 months.

4) Despite their size, elephants can be turned off by the smallest of critters. One study
found that they avoid eating a type of acacia tree that is home to ants. Underfoot, ants
can be crushed, but an elephant wants to avoid getting the ants inside its trunk, which
is full of sensitive nerve endings.

5) Elephants don’t like peanuts. They don’t eat them in the wild, and zoos don’t feed
them to their captive elephants.

6) Female elephants live in groups of about 15 animals, all related and led by a
matriarch, usually the oldest in the group. She’ll decide where and when they move
and rest, day to day and season to season.

7) Male elephants leave the matriarch groups between age 12 and 15. But they aren’t
loners—they live in all-male groups. In dry times, these males will form a linear
hierarchy that helps them avoid injuries that could result from competing for water.
8) Asian elephants don’t run. Running requires lifting all four feet at once, but
elephants filmed in Thailand always kept at least two on the ground at all times.

9) An African elephant can detect seismic signals with sensory cells in its feet and
also “hear” these deep-pitched sounds when ground vibrations travel from the
animal’s front feet, up its leg and shoulder bones, and into its middle ear. By
comparing the timing of signals received by each of its front feet, the elephant can
determine the sound’s direction.

10) Like human toddlers, great apes, magpies and dolphins, elephants have passed the
mirror test—they recognize themselves in a mirror.

11) Elephants can get sunburned, so they take care to protect themselves. “Elephants
will throw sand on their backs and on their head. They do that to keep them from
getting sunburned and to keep bugs off,” Tony Barthel, curator of the Elephant House
and the Cheetah Conservation Station at Smithsonian’s National Zoo, told To protect their young, adult elephants will douse them in sand and
stand over the little ones as they sleep.

12) Stories of African elephants getting drunk from the fermented fruit of the marula
tree are not true, a study concluded. The animals don’t eat the fruit off the ground
where it ferments, the fresh fruit doesn’t stay in the elephant’s digestive tract long
enough to ferment, and even if an elephant did eat the fermented fruit, it would take
1,400 pieces to get one drunk.

13) Elephants have evolved a sixth toe, which starts off as cartilage attached to the
animal’s big toe but is converted to bone as the elephant ages.

14) Some farmers in Kenya protect their fields from elephants by lining the borders
with beehives. Not only are their crops saved, but the farmers also get additional
income from the honey.

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