Surprising facts about elephants

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Photo by Harvey Sapir

Elephants are some of the smartest and most compassionate animals on the planet, and they’re always a big draw at the zoo. But how much do you really know about them?

From their 5-inch eyelashes to their 22-month pregnancies, here are 17 things you probably never knew about elephants.

An elephant’s trunk weighs 400 pounds, but it can pick up things as small as a single grain of rice.

Elephants use their trunk for everything! Drinking, eating, smelling, and communicating are all done by the trunk.

Elephants can recognize themselves in the mirror. They join humans, apes, and dolphins as the only animals with self awareness.

“This would seem to be a trait common to and independently evolved by animals with large, complex brains, complex social lives and known capacities for empathy and altruism, even though the animals all have very different kinds of brains,” researcher Dana Reiss told LiveScience.

They are afraid of bees. Farmers even use beehives to deter elephants from coming onto their land.

Some farms in Asia and Africa are using bees instead of life-threatening electric fences, the New York Times reported.

Elephants can have babies until they’re 50 years old.

Similarly to humans, giving birth at that age is rare, but some elephants have even given birth in their 60s.

Elephants are pregnant for 22 months — it’s the longest gestation period of any mammal.

And their menstrual cycle lasts from three to four months, as opposed to the 28-day cycle in humans. That means they only have the possibility of getting pregnant three or four times per year.

Elephants are born blind.

They also suck their trunks for comfort, like humans suck their thumbs.

They also weigh up to 260 pounds at birth.

Imagine giving birth to that.

The oldest elephant lived to be 86.

His name was Lin Wang, and he was drafted into the Japanese army during World War II.

They “hug” their trunks to say hello to each other.

Elephants, they’re just like us.

Elephants have no need for mascara — their eyelashes can be up to 5 inches long.

In fact, they have the longest eyelashes of any animal in the world.

They are extremely emotional creatures — elephants even grieve lost family members.

When a mother loses their baby, they’ve been known to go through a depressive state, and even drag the body of their baby along behind them for days.

The elephant’s closest living relative is the hyrax, which resemble “a large guinea pig with a grouchy-looking overbite.”

Elephant, rock hyraxes, and manatees all “descend from a common hoofed ancestor,” according to The Dodo.

African bush elephants are the largest land animals in the world — they can weigh up to 14,000 pounds.

That’s 7 tons.

They’re the only mammals that can’t jump — even when they’re running, elephants always have at least one foot on the ground.

They’re just too heavy — plus, they stand on their tippy toes.

Elephants can be trained to fight fires by carrying crews and equipment into remote areas, like they did in Indonesia in 2015.

In Indonesia, they helped carry crews and equipment through difficult terrain, Business Insider reported.

They use their trunks as snorkels when they swim.

They know how to swim naturally. According to Wild Animal Park, “The only mammals that have to learn to swim are humans and the primates.”

They can spend 16 hours a day eating.

Sounds like the life.

Source : Insider