Elephants in Sri Lanka

18 facts about elephants

The elephant is usually top of the list of most families for what they want to spot on safari. Although the elephant is loved and respected by many cultures around the world, habitat-loss, poaching and human-elephant conflict has put the species under threat. On 12 August, we celebrate World Elephant Day, bringing the plight of these gentle giants into the spotlight, including their exploitation in the tourism industry.

Here are 18 facts about our favourite animal, the elephant.

Baby elephant Botswanaelephant Botswana Nxai Pan elephant giraffe

Meet elephants on safari in Africa, in Thailand, Sri Lanka or India.

1. There are two types of elephant - Asian and African.

2. Female and male African elephants have tusks but only male Asian elephants have tusks.

3. Elephants are the largest land animals in the world - the largest on record weighed over 10 tons and was 13 feet tall.

4. They can live to be over 70 years old.

5. They are the only mammal that can't jump.

6. Their brain is three or four times larger than a human's.

7. Elephants are either right or left tusked!

8. They have the longest pregnancy out of all mammals at 22 months long.

9. An adult elephant can eat 300lbs of food in one day!

Botswana Elephants Elephant mother and baby Botswana Nxai Pan elephant giraffe

10. They use the 100,000 muscles in their trunk to sense the size, shape and temperature of an object.

11. Elephants follow greeting ceremonies when a member of the group returns after a long time, and they can hug by wrapping their trunks together.

12. Elephants have no natural predators. Their biggest killers are humans, who poach them for their ivory tusks

13. Asian elephants are endangered and African elephants are considered vulnerable.

14. Elephant Graveyards, where supposedly large groups of elephants travel to die, are a myth but they are backed up by natural behaviour. Often these are places that the elephants have travelled to in the hope of a greater chance of survival. Elephants are also very inquisitive when they come across the bones of another elephant, often picking them up and carrying them for a while.

15. Elephants can hear another one trumpeting up to six miles away.

16. They have human-like emotions, feeling loss, grieving and even crying.

17. Recent molecular based classifications have bizarrely found that the elephant's closest living relative is the Hyrax.

18. Regular mud baths protect the elephant's skin from burning, insect bites and moisture loss.

Inspired? Let us take you to meet elephants...

You can see elephants on many of our trips! See the list here.

Please phone us on 01962 737 560 for more information.