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War Elephants Facts

War Elephants

War Elephants (View larger version)

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  • An elephant’s brain it is the largest among living land mammals weighing on average 10 pounds compared to an average size human brain weighing 3 pounds.

  • Elephants are able to distinguish the scents and voices of other elephants.

  • Elephants can remember important migratory routes to water and vital food resources for decades.

  • They say elephants never forget. In the mid-1980s, Dr. Joyce Poole formed a unique relationship with a young bull elephant, named Vladimir. Joyce would call Vladmir over to her car and he would let her touch his tusks and trunk. Twenty-three years later after not seeing her elephant friend during this time, she was reunited. Joyce drove nearby Vladimir stopped the car (a car that was new to him) and Joyce called his name. Vladimir left his path and came deliberately over to the car and walked by, almost rubbing his side on the car and allowed her to touch his trunk and tusks just as she had done 12 years before.

  • Elephant babies can recognize their mother's urine from other related or unrelated individuals, even after the baby has been separated from their mothers for decades.

  • Female elephants are able to remember and distinguish the calls of close female family members from those females outside of their extended family.

  • Elephants have been known to pick up objects like logs, rocks and throw them at their opponents during fights.

  • Elephants are very crafty with tree branches: they can use them to neutralize electric fences, use leafy branches as fly swatters and use sticks to de-tick themselves.

  • Elephants are very crafty with tree branches: they can use them to neutralize electric fences, use leafy branches as fly swatters and use sticks to de-tick themselves.

  • Elephants have even been observed to feed another elephant who was unable to feed itself.

  • Elephants often react strongly to dying or dead elephants by touching the deceased elephant with its trunk and feet sometimes attempting to lift and carry the body or bones.

  • Elephants have been seen even guarding the body of a deceased elephant and sometimes even covering and burying the remains.

  • Elephants can tell the difference between the bones of elephants and those of other animals.

  • Elephants are able to comprehend the different levels of threat different predators possess.

  • Elephants have been able to recognize themselves in mirrors.

  • Most elephant communication contains frequencies way below the level of human hearing and use these unique low frequency calls to communicate with other elephants over very long-distances.

  • Elephants can hear with their feet! As an elephant vocalizes a replica of this, sound goes directly in the ground and elephants are able to detect these vocalizations through their extremely sensitive feet. Elephants can detect earth tremors, thunderstorms and the hoof beats of distant animals in the same manner.

  • Elephants have an incredible sense of smell, rivaling that of a bloodhound.

  • Elephants can survive up to 70 years in the wild.

  • An elephant pregnancy lasts over twice that of a human-about 660 days, or approximately 22 months.

  • Elephant calves are usually not weaned until the age of three and they typically suckle for longer.

  • Calves learn almost everything by observing their family members. They gain knowledge of what food to eat by sampling what the adults around them are eating and they practice their mothering skills by shadowing the behavior of mothers of newborn calves.

  • Elephant have been known to get revenge. For example, in Kenya where for the last 35 years members of the Maasai community have killed elephants, elephants have been observed killing the Massai livestock.

  • Joyce Poole was the first person to discover musth (a heightened sexual state in bull elephants) in African elephants. “Coming of Age with Elephants” By Joyce Poole.

  • When a male comes into musth he becomes extremely aggressive, battling with other males that can often lead to fatal injuries. An elephants testosterone levels increase dramatically, they secrete liquid from their swollen temporal glands behind their eyes and they can lose over 60 gallons of urine a day as it dribbles out showing the world that he is in musth.

  • Male elephants, who on average weigh 6 tons, weigh twice as much as female elephants, who on average weights a meager 3 tons “Elephants” By Joyce Poole.

  • During the Mozambique civil war, over 95% of the wildlife in Gorongosa National Park was wiped out as soldiers poached animals for bush meat and traded ivory for weapons.

  • In 2008, The Carr Foundation, a U.S. not-for-profit organization, has teamed up with the Government of Mozambique to protect the ecosystem of Gorongosa and signed a 20-year contract to restore most of the wildlife lost during the civil war.

  • An elephant’s trunk is a fusion of upper lip and elongated nose and weights up to 300 pounds. Trunks can pick up a straw, be used as a snorkel, push over a huge tree, tenderly touch family members, pour 2 gallons of water into its mouth and detect scents over several miles. “Elephants” By Joyce Poole

  • Between 1979 and 1989 over half a million elephants were killed for their ivory, a major problem still having devastating effects on elephant populations worldwide “Elephants” By Joyce Poole.

  • Elephants have greeting ceremonies after being separated. “Elephants” By Joyce Poole

  • Elephant vocalizations are well below the level of human hearing and can even reach over 106 decibels allowing sounds to travel 3 to 6 miles. “Elephants” By Joyce Poole

  • Elephants have favorite scratching trees where the bark is worn smooth after being used for so many years from itchy elephants. “Elephants” By Joyce Poole

  • An elephant’s enormous foot acts as a shock absorber to handle its enormous weight. “Elephants” By Joyce Poole

  • An elephant eats almost constantly and usually occupy 70% of their waking hours and can consume over 300 pounds of food in a single day. They can also drink up to 50 gallons of water in one day. “Elephants” By Joyce Poole

  • 36. Elephants are great swimmers, often using their trunk as a snorkel when immersing their entire body underwater. Babies can swim almost immediately and some of even been seen suckling underwater. “Elephants” By Joyce Poole

  • 37. Elephant skin is up to 1 inch thick. “Elephants” By Joyce Poole

  • The average tusk weight for a male is over 100 pounds!

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