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9 Crazy Facts About African Elephants

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Elephants are extraordinary; they’re captivating, intelligent and perfectly adapted to their environment. Whatever you think you know about them, prepare to be amazed with these nine crazy facts.

About the Author

About the Author

I know safaris like the back of my hand – I was born and raised on a lodge in Zimbabwe, and have spent most of my life in the bush.

AFRICA SPECIALIST

Christabelle

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1. MULTIPURPOSE TRUNKS

Containing 40,000 muscles, the trunk can lift weights up to 500kg, yet it can easily pick up a grain of rice and smell water from 12 miles away.

Trunks also assess the temperature, shape and size of an object. Baby elephants even suck their trunks for comfort, just like baby humans suck their thumbs!

2. EARS FOR AIR-CONDITIONING

Elephants’ ears are perfectly designed to keep them cool.  They’re covered with a fine network of blood vessels that allows heat to dissipate when temperatures rise.

They can deliberately increase blood flow to their ears as necessary, ensuring they never over-heat.

3. PERFECT SWIMMERS

Despite their weight, elephants are fine swimmers – an exercise they thoroughly enjoy. They can go for 30 miles and for six continuous hours.

They’re adept at diving as their trunks are handy for snorkelling, and they can float if they fancy a rest.

4. FEET: COMFORTABLE AND VERSATILE

Special padding cushions their weight and prevents them from slipping, by moulding itself over objects on the ground.

The sensitive soles allow them to sense the rumblings of other elephants through the ground. This enables them to communicate over great distances.

5. CARING AND LOYAL

Female elephants live in family groups throughout their lives. They use their trunks to guide and reassure. They gather round to assist with births or comfort distressed babies.

Elephants experience happiness, fear, playfulness and compassion. Naughty infants may even get a trunk slap to keep them in line!

6. RESPECT FOR THE DEAD

Elephants recognise the bodies of relations and grieve when a loved one passes. They examine tusks and bury the dead – often standing vigil for many days afterwards.

When passing a place where a loved one has died and they’ll pause for several minutes in remembrance.

7. TUSKS AND TEETH

Elephants display a preference for one or other tusk, just as humans are right or left-handed. The dominant tusk is the one that’s most worn. Tusks are used for digging, lifting and defending.

Elephants’ teeth constantly grow. They use six sets of molars in their lifetime and they are constantly worn down by grinding up their food. A molar can be the size of a brick!

8. PROTECT AND MOISTURISE

Elephants get sunburn but mud baths protect them from harmful, ultraviolet rays. Mud also prevents insect bites and moisture loss.

They also spray themselves with a fine coating of dust to add an extra layer of protection and maintain healthy skin.

9. SHARED EXPERIENCE

Elephants come to humans for help or even to sympathise. When conservationist Lawrence Anthony passed away, two herds of elephants travelled 12 miles to his home.

They quietly stood vigil with his family for several days – surely a sign that we have more in common than us humans could possibly have imagined?

To book your trip to see elephants, contact True Luxury Travel and we’ll help you plan your perfect adventure to witness these magnificent animals in their wild, natural environment.

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