On September 22, you can show your love for pachyderms on Elephant Appreciation Day! More than just animals you see at the zoo or circus, elephants are fascinating creatures that prove they’re special and worth a day of appreciation. Here are nine fun facts about elephants and why they make the world a better place.
- African elephants are the largest land mammals on Earth.Compared to Asian elephants, they’re slightly larger. Want to tell the difference? African elephants have larger ears, while Asian ones have smaller, rounded ears.
- Elephant trunks are actually long noses. An elephant uses its trunk to breathe, smell, drink, and trumpet, as well as grab food. One elephant trunk has around 100,000 different muscles!
- Elephants, like humans,show a range of emotional intelligence.Grief is just one of the emotions elephants express. They’ve also been known to exhibit self-awareness, grief, playfulness, and compassion.
- Elephant herds are matriarchal.Let’s hear it for the women! Female elephants live in groups of around 15, led by the oldest in the group. She decides where they move for the day and where to rest for the night.
- If you think nine months is long, you’ve got nothing on elephants.Female African elephants are pregnant with their babies for 22 months!
- Male elephants leave the herd once they’re teens. Instead of going to Elephant College, male elephants leave when they become adolescents, around age 12, and live in temporary “bachelor herds” until they’re old enough to live alone.
- Elephants are very social. They hang out with each other in their herds, play with each other, and reassure in times of stress. They also show each comfort or love by touching and caressing their trunks.
- Elephants have big ears for a reason! Dumbo’s ears are totally normal — those ears evolved to radiate heat and keep them cool by regulating their body temperature. When the heat is too much, they’ll shower themselves by sucking up water into trunks and spraying themselves!
- Elephants don’t like peanuts!Contrary to popular belief, elephants don’t eat peanuts in the wild and zookeepers don’t feed them peanuts. Instead, they like greens like roots, grass, bark, and fruit.
How will you show your appreciation for elephants?
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