Animals Kids Love: Elephants 101 Elephant Facts for Kids – Animal Facts
Kids love elephants. And so do adults to be honest. They are some pretty interesting animals. But what facts do we know about these interesting Pachyderms? Let’s find out.
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10. The word Pachyderm is often used synonymously with Elephant. But the word pachyderm doesn’t necessarily mean elephant. The word is defined as a very large mammal with thick skin, which can also be a rhinoceros or hippopotamus.
The word derives from an obsolete order of mammals used in the 18th century called Pachydermata which came from two Greek words Pachys, meaning thick, and derma, meaning skin. Fitting as an elephant’s skin can be over an inch thick.
The Elephant is the Largest Land Mammal
9. Elephants are the largest of the land mammals. African elephants can weigh up to 14,000 pounds or 6,350 kilograms. That’s about the weight of three average sized cars. Even baby elephants are big weighing in at about 250 pounds at birth.
The largest elephant on record was an adult male African elephant. It weighed about 24,000 pounds 11,000 kilograms and was 13 feet tall at the shoulder, a meter (or 3 feet) taller than the average male African Elephant! Imagine an elephant they weigh as much as 6 cars!
8. Not only is the elephant big, his brain is big, too. The elephant’s brain weighs about 11 pounds or 5kg. Human brains only weigh about 3 pounds.
Elephants are Smart!
A wide variety of behaviors associated with intelligence have been attributed to elephants, including those associated with grief, making music, art, altruism, play, use of tools, compassion, and self-awareness. Elephants cry, play, have incredible memories, and laugh.
The elephant has a big heart, too. It weighs in between 27 and 46 pounds.
7. While female elephants live mostly in tight-knit groups, male elephants, also called bulls, tend to live solitary lives.
The social lives of male and female elephants are very different. Female elephants spend their entire lives in tightly knit family groups made up of mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts. These groups are led by the eldest female or matriarch. They live in a highly structured social order.
Males leave their birth family at an average age of 14.
6. Tusks are teeth. The tusks of an elephant are its second upper incisors. Tusks grow continuously; an adult male’s tusks grow about 7 in or 18cm per year. Tusks are used to dig for water, salt, and roots; to debark trees to eat the bark; to dig into trees to get at the pulp inside, and to move trees and branches when clearing a path. In addition, they are used for marking trees to establish territory, and occasionally as weapons.
One of the largest tusks ever found was about 10 feet long and weighed over 200 pounds.
5. The elephant does everything big, but one thing the elephant can not do is jump. The elephant is the only land mammal incapable of leaving the ground. He also is unable to trot or gallop.
But, they can swim. And, Elephants can use their trunks to breathe like a snorkel in deep water.
4. The elephant’s trunk is quite versatile. It is sensitive enough to pick up a single blade of grass, yet strong enough to rip the branches off a tree.
The trunk is also used for drinking. Elephants suck water up into the trunk—up to 14 liters or almost 4 gallons at a time—and then blow it into their mouths. Elephants also suck up water to spray on their bodies during bathing. On top of this watery coating, the animals will then spray dirt and mud, which dries and acts as a sunscreen. See told ya they were smart. Use sunscreen kids.
Elephants are Herbivores
3. Elephants are herbivores, meaning they eat only plants, and spend up to 16 hours a day eating plants.
They eat a lot of different types of plants. Their diets are highly variable, depending on the season and what is available in the region. Elephants feed mostly on the leaves, bark, and fruits of trees and shrubs, but they may also eat grasses and herbs.
2. As well as hearing with their large ears, elephants use their feet to listen, they can pick up sub-sonic rumblings made by other elephants, through vibrations in the ground. Elephants are observed listening by putting trunks on the ground and carefully positioning their feet.
An elephant is capable of hearing sound waves well below our human ears, all the way down to 9 Hz, what we call infrasound. The use of high-pressure infrasound opens the elephant’s spatial experience far beyond our limited hearing.
1. Elephants are capable of producing very low notes, at what are called “infrasonic” frequencies — that means the sounds they produce can actually extend below 20 hertz, the lowest frequency detectable by the human ear. And they do it by “purring” like cats but at a much lower frequency. It regulates the speed at which its vocal folds vibrate by actively contracting its laryngeal muscles, much in the same way that a cat purrs. A 7-ton animal purring… how cute is that?
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