Elephants, the world’s largest land animal, are often revered as symbols of strength and power in many Asian cultures. These majestic giants however, still face endangerment despite the decline of the ivory trade due to continuous poaching and habitat destruction.
To shine a spotlight on present-day challenges faced by many beloved animals like the elephant, Animal Planet has premiered Dodo Heroes, its first-ever global series launch, this June. The series features inspiring stories of animals in need from around the world and the compassionate humans who go to unimaginable lengths to give them hope.
Ahead of the Dodo Heroes’ episode on one-of-a-kind Boon Lott Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand (Katherine’s Big Animal Eden) on 8 July, 9pm, here are some interesting facts that you may not know about elephants.
1. Nimble trunks
An average elephant’s trunk weighs approximately 180 kilograms (about the weight of a large motorcycle) and is capable of lifting over 300 kilograms. Despite its size and strength, the trunk is also dexterous enough that it can pick up very small things like a single grain of rice.
2. What’s that smell?
Elephants are gassy creatures and they fart (yes, you read this right) frequently throughout the day. Scientists have found that the methane gas they produce is able to power a car for almost 30km.
3. Pregnant mamas
If you think being pregnant for nine months is a long time, you’re no match for the mighty elephant! Female African elephants are pregnant for 22 months on average while Asian elephants are pregnant between 18-22 months.
4. Mukbang champions
Bringing an elephant for a meal will be an expensive affair. These avid foodies can eat for up to 16 hours and consume around 270kg of food a day. Imagine how many plates of chicken rice that is!
5. Brain Whiz
With the largest developed brain among all land mammals, elephants are renowned to have amazing long term memories. During a research study, an elephant was found to recognize a zoologist even though they had not seen each other in 4 years. You probably do not want them as your enemy – they may forgive but never forget!
6. Big Spoon
Just like all of us, elephants are social creatures. To show affection and to greet each other, they sometimes “hug” by wrapping their trunks together.
7. Left or Right?
Believe it or not but elephants have more similarities to us humans than you think. Some are “lefties”, and others are “righties”. Elephants will use a dominant tusk for their daily routines like picking things up and stripping leaves of trees etc.
8. Firmly grounded
Elephants are incapable of jumping. Even though these magnificent mammals can run at a maximum speed of 40km per hour, at any point in time, they will always have to keep at least one foot on the ground.
Article & image source: Courtesy of Animal Planet, published with permission.