Biology

6 elephant facts you may not have known

The elephants are curious, intelligent and gregarious creatures. They are part of many religious beliefs of human beings and the elephant is often associated with wisdom or altruism. However, not all of us know some peculiarities that make these pachyderms really very special beings.

# 1 Elephant species

Elephant facts
Elephant facts

Genetic testing has revealed that there are at least three species of elephants: the Asian ( Elephas maximus ), the African of the savanna ( Loxodonta africana ) and the African of the forest ( Loxodonta cyclotis ) . They are all herbivores and have twilight habits, since their greatest period of activity occurs at night and at dawn.

The Asian elephant is the medium-sized one, it has small ears and tusks, as well as two characteristic bumps on its forehead and it lacks a prominent upper lip. Both African elephants have large ears, although those of the jungle are more rounded and less hairy and their tusks are small and relatively straight, while the savannah has them much larger and curved towards the trunk.

# 2 Reproduction and homosexuality

Since females are only fertile for only a few days a year, at this time the males will try to woo her through the use of rituals that involve various affectionate gestures and caresses. If she conceives, she will have the longest pregnancy in the entire animal kingdom ( 22 months) and will give birth to a calf of approximately 100 kilos that will be cared for by all the females in the herd

The funny thing is that it is very well documented that as male elephants are very sexually active, during the times when the females do not go into heat, they mate with each other.

# 3 The social life of elephants

A herd of elephants is generally made up of about ten individuals led by the most experienced matriarch, while the males are usually solitary and move from group to group.

To his considered one of the most closely united societies in the animal world and a female will only leave her place if she dies or is captured by humans. The males leave as soon as they are adolescents (between 12 and 13 years old) and for about 7 years, while sexual development ends, they live in temporary herds.

# 4 Fangs

Elephants are born toothless, grow “milk teeth” and finally these are replaced by an adult dentition. They use their large fangs to dig, move and lift heavy objects and sometimes as part of their mating rituals.

Since the tusks are made of ivory, a material highly prized by humans, these mammals have been hunted first legally and now stealthily, to the point where all species are in danger of extinction.

# 5 Horn

The elephant trunk is analogous to the tentacle of an octopus in terms of dexterity . It allows them a high degree of manipulation of objects, they can sip water and put it in their mouth to drink (they consume almost 200 liters per day) or dump it on their back to cool themselves and it has enormous force.

# 6 Feet

Each elephant foot is different according to the species: the Africans of the jungle and the Asians have 5 nails on their front limbs and 4 on the back ones, whereas the African elephant has 4 or 5 nails on the front legs and 3 on the back ones. .

Due to their enormous weight, they are unable to jump and usually sleep standing up and for no more than two or three hours, to remain alert and avoid the threat of an attack. The most curious thing about their dream activity is that they only reach the REM phase, in which they also dream, every 3 or 4 days.

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