10 Neat Things About Elephants
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10 Neat Things About Elephants
elephant trunk
1. Trunk.

An elephant’s trunk is kind of like a nose, in that it is used for breathing and smelling (as much as four times as sensitive as a bloodhound!) but it is also used for grabbing things and spraying water. The trunk can hold 8.5 litres of water to spray over the elephant or into its mouth. They use their trunks as a snorkel when they swim. (Yes, they can and do swim!) And they nuzzle them, wrapping them around one another, when they’re with an elephant they like.

african elephant ears
2. Ears.

There are African elephants (actually, there are two species: African bush and African forest) and Asian elephants (one species). African elephants have ears in the shape of Africa and Asian elephants have smaller ears in the shape of India, if you use a little imagination. Elephant’s ears are also full of blood vessels and they’re used to regulate body temperature. Blood flows into the ear and the elephant flaps its ear to cool down.

elephant feet
3. Feet.

Those big round feet are covered in a cushiony pad to help distribute weight. They also soften the sound of the footsteps. That’s right: a 10-foot tall, 7-ton elephant can sneak up on you.

4. Skin.

On its back and the back of its head, an elephant’s skin can be an inch thick. It is generally grey, though it can become depigmented on Asian elephants. And it is quite sensitive to sun. For this reason, after taking a bath, they will wallow in mud or blow dust over itself for protection against the sun and insect bites.

elephant tusks
5. Tusks.

One of the elephant’s great problems is its ivory tusks, which make the giants a target for poaching. The tusks are actually incisor teeth. They grow quite large on African males, smaller on African females; Asian males have tusks slimmer than African males or may have no tusk at all. Asian females have small tusks, or the tusks are absent. The tusks are used for digging, for fighting and for protecting the trunk.

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