Elephants…They’re a Lot Like Us
Elephants are one the most powerful land creatures in the world. Why is it that so many people are drawn to elephants? Maybe it’s because they remind us of ourselves. Research has shown that elephants are quite human-like. They’re intelligent. They develop deep social bonds. They communicate, both verbally and non-verbally. They work together to solve problems.
A few interesting facts about elephants…
- There are two species of elephant: The African elephant and the Asian elephant.
- Elephants produce a broad range of sounds, including the trumpeting noises we associate with them as well as noises so soft they are not heard by the human ear.
- Elephants are able to detect the low frequency sounds through their ears, feet, and trunk tip.
- An elephant’s feet are designed perfectly for its massive weight. Each foot is covered with thick, tough skin and contains sponge-like tissue that works as a sort of shock absorber.
- Elephants live in herds similar to an extended family. They know every member of their herd and can recognize each other by sight or smell.
- Elephants are known to recognize humans they have bonded with even after decades apart.
- Elephants are one of few species besides humans able to recognize their own reflection in a mirror.
- A female African elephant’s pregnancy lasts 22 months. Most have their first calf while in their teens.
- Elephants mourn their dead. They actually perform burial rituals for their lost friends and loved ones and then return to visit the grave sites. A mother elephant may not leave the body of her deceased calf for days.
- Elephants cover themselves with sand and mud to protect their skin from getting sunburned – yes they do get sunburns – and to keep bugs away.
- The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus retired the last of its touring elephants in May 2016. They now live at Ringling’s 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida.