Elephants are one of the most intellectually developed animals in the world. They can experience various emotions: boredom, sadness, joy and longing. These amazing creatures even know how to laugh. They always help their relatives and always help them out of trouble. Elephants also have incredible talents - they can draw and can recognize music.
Is it true that the elephant is the largest animal?
In fact, the elephant is only the third largest. The palm went to the blue (blue) whale, the sperm whale takes the second place, but the elephant takes the honorable third. However, among terrestrial creatures, this large animal is not equal in size. The elephant is truly the largest land beast. In size, no one could surpass it, not even a hippopotamus, which is in second place.
And this is not surprising, because the African elephant grows up to 4 meters in height, and its mass is 7.5 tons. His relative from India, however, is slightly smaller, he weighs no more than 5 tons, and his height at the withers is only 3 meters.
Why is an elephant considered a sacred animal in some countries?
The white elephant symbolizes spiritual wealth and the desire for enlightenment. In India and Thailand, this animal is deified. The whole thing is in one legend, according to which the mother of Buddha once had a prophetic dream about a white elephant with a lotus. He foreshadowed the imminent birth of an unusual boy. Therefore, since ancient times, white elephants are considered living symbols of Buddhism. In Thailand, the birth of such animals is considered the most joyful event. The king of the state of each albino elephant takes under his personal protection and guardianship.
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In general, all elephants need protection, without exception. Since they are still being hunted. The thing is that ivory is very expensive. Therefore, poachers hunt, first of all, for the tusks of these animals. And just finding them just will not work. After all, all the tusks of dead elephants are eaten by porcupines, which seek to make up for the lack of necessary trace elements.
Unfortunately, bait hunters are not even stopped by the fact that these amazing creatures are listed in the Red Book. Therefore, in many countries for killing an elephant, the punishment is not imprisonment, but the death penalty.
Why does an elephant have a trunk and ears?
The length of the trunk of this creature is 7 meters. The trunk consists of 100 thousand muscles. With it, the elephant breathes, drinks water and makes loud noises. The trunk has some grasping functions, it has a small special process on it, somewhat reminiscent of a finger. Thanks to him, the beast can capture small objects. The African elephant has two such processes, and the Indian has only one.
With a trunk, animals can pluck grass, break trees. And also these amazing creatures use it to take a shower. They gladly water themselves from the trunk with dirty water. The mud then dries up and forms a special film that protects the skin of animals from insects.
The ears of the animal protect it from overheating. The fact is that the elephants do not sweat, which means that they can not quickly cool off during the intense heat. But on their ears there are many capillaries that expand when heated and give off excess heat to the environment. In addition, the huge size of the ears allows elephants to use them as a fan.
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What can elephants do?
Elephants, contrary to all sorts of stereotypes, are able to move absolutely silently. They have special pads on their feet that gently spring and gradually expand as the load increases. Thanks to them, these animals walk very quietly. With the help of these pads, they easily move even in marshy areas.
The only thing that elephants can't do is jump and run. But then they can walk very quickly, developing a speed of up to 30 kilometers per hour.
These creatures are perfectly developed all the senses: vision, smell, touch and hearing. In addition, they can swim superbly. An elephant can be afloat for 6 hours, and it easily swims huge distances up to 60-70 kilometers.
As for intellectual abilities, the elephants know how to memorize music. They have well-developed not only auditory, but also visual memory. They remember not only sounds, but also all the places they have ever been to and people they have met.
Also, these unusual creatures are able to recognize themselves in the mirror. And this skill, except for them, is possessed only by monkeys and dolphins. With chimpanzees, elephants are also related to the ability to use tools. For example, they can use tree branches as a fly swatter.
Can elephants live alone?
Elephants need contact with their relatives. They do not tolerate loneliness. These animals live in a herd of 15 females. All animals in such groups are related to each other. At the head of the herd is the most important female.
Males are lonely by nature, but even they tend to cling to some herd or form their own, which is extremely rare.
In the herd, all relations are built on mutual assistance: animals protect each other from danger, always help the weakest individuals and together raise the younger generation. Even elephants sleep, and then together. They only need 4 hours to sleep. African elephants stray into a small group and doze standing, leaning on each other. And their Indian relatives prefer to sleep lying on the ground.
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What do elephants eat?
Elephants eat grass, fruits, tree bark and roots. A day, one animal eats about 450 kilograms of plant foods and drinks 100-300 liters of water. An elephant all day only makes something chew. On average, he spends 16 hours on a meal.
How do elephants breed?
With the onset of sexual activity, the female makes special sounds that attract males. Mating pair games can last more than a week. The gestation period lasts 22 months. Only one baby elephant is always born. During childbirth, the whole of her relatives is next to the female. Relatives are always ready to help her if necessary.
For two years, the baby eats exclusively breast milk. He drinks more than 10 liters daily. Then, the little elephant gradually begins to eat plants. Until the age of 6, the mother protects the cub, he always follows her everywhere. Upon reaching the age of six, the elephant calf is separated from the mother and begins to live independently. Females reach puberty at 18, and males at 20.
Male mates need to mate more than once a year. And the females cannot provide them with such an opportunity. Therefore, males often have same-sex relationships. Elephants live in their natural habitat for 70 years, and in captivity for 80 years. The elephant who lived for 86 years is considered a long-liver. He died in 2003.