Today is Elephant Appreciation Day! And who doesn’t appreciate elephants?
In order to help you appreciate elephants more (or to help you appreciate more elephants), I have helpfully compiled some Extremely Interesting elephant facts. (You can tell they are Extremely Interesting because I just said so.)
An average newborn elephant weighs around 200 pounds and stand about 3 feet tall. That’s bigger than you were when you were born.
An adult elephant will eat about 300 pounds of food a day. Personally, I don’t see this as a huge accomplishment, since there have been days where I’ve eaten 300 pounds of Oreos before noon.
Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing. John Donne
An elephant’s trunk has more than 100,000 muscles. Elephants use their trunks to breathe, pick things up, make noises, drink, and smell. Also to look cute.
Elephants are the only mammal that can’t jump. Which explains why you never see elephants on professional basketball teams.
Elephants are the only mammals besides humans to have chins. (I love that.)
One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know. Groucho Marx
Elephants normally only sleep 2 or 3 hours each day, proving that they would make excellent college students.
An elephant’s skin can be as thick as 1 inch, so while they may not be sensitive to most insects or insults, they are sensitive to the sun. Rather than invest in sunscreen, elephants will cover themselves in mud or dust. Interestingly, they are scared of bees. Me too.
Only those with skin as thick as elephant hide can hope to sail through their teens unscathed by self-doubt and bouts of depression. Mariella Frostrup
Elephants prefer one tusk over the other (think of it as handedness except with tusks). About 100 elephants a day are killed for their tusks. That is not part of appreciating elephants.
African elephants have the best sense of smell in the animal kingdom. They can smell water 12 miles away and detect rain 150 miles away. Elephants would make excellent TV weather people, except they are smarter than the average meteorologist.
I have a memory like an elephant. In fact, elephants often consult me. Noel Coward
Elephants are extremely intelligent animals and have memories that span many, many years. This helps during dry seasons when they need to navigate to watering holes; they just pull up the memory and follow their memory GPS to the drinking fountain.
Elephants communicate over long distances (except the ones in elephant college who are busy ignoring their mothers) by producing a sub-sonic rumble that can travel over the ground faster than sound through air. Other elephants receive the messages through the sensitive skin on their feet and trunks. Think of it as ground-based cell phones for elephants.
Elephants purr (like cats) as a means of communication.
Elephants can hear one another’s trumpeting calls up to 5 miles away. Except for teenage elephants who have selective deafness.