Like hippos and rhinos, elephants are pachyderms. These imposing animals have thick skin and heavy gait. In fact, elephants are the largest land animals on earth. Here are ten fascinating facts about them.
1. Elephants cannot jump because they are too heavy. Their bones would break upon landing.
2. Elephant trunks are very flexible and contain up to 150,000 muscles. This essential appendage functions as a nose and arm. Elephants use their trunks to communicate, clean themselves and gather food. However, elephants do not eat through their trunks.
3. Elephants spend about 16 hours a day eating. They can eat over 440 pounds of plants and drink over 26 gallons of water a day.
4. Although elephant skin is thick, it is also very delicate. In fact, an elephant can feel a small insect landing on its back. Also, elephants cover their skin with mud to stay cool in the hot sun.
5. An elephant’s powerful, trumpet-like call can be heard up to five miles away.
6. Contrary to popular belief, elephants are not afraid of mice. However, they fear ants and bees that can crawl into their proboscis.
7. Elephants can swim several kilometers at a time. They also use their trunks as snorkels to breathe underwater.
8. Elephant feet are very sensitive and can feel ground vibrations from more than six miles away.
9. Female elephants carry their young 20 to 22 months before birth. That’s almost two years!
10. Elephants, like humans, lose their teeth. However, elephant teeth can fall out and grow back several times.
You may be able to see an elephant at a zoo near you.