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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Elephants

As their blood vessels are near to the surface of their skin, they can be seen flapping their ears in order to keep themselves cool.

Their trunks can hold up to 16 pints of water at a time, but they do not drink through them. Once the trunk is full, it is then squirted into their mouths.

Elephants continue to grow throughout their lives, although the extent of this does slow down with age, even their eyes.

Elephants actually walk on their toes. They have a thick layer of cartilage between their bones and the earth which acts as a shock absorber.

They are excellent swimmers and are recorded in Zimbabwe of swimming up to 50 miles from one island to the mainland. An ordeal which took them 5 days and they came out with pinkish looking skin.

Females have sharp, square foreheads, while the male has a round forehead.

During their lifetime, their teeth are replaced six times. When the last set wears down, they are unable to eat and so die of starvation.

Of all the mammals, they have the longest gestation period (pregnancy), twenty two months. The females stand to give birth where after a single young is born in the sack in which it was developed. If it does not break, the female will kick it against a sharp stone or abject until it burst open and enables the baby to come out.

A baby elephant weights about 260 lbs at birth and can walk under its mothers belly for its first year.

Each elephant footprint is as different as our fingerprints. This allows people to track them in the wild.

The main difference between the African and Asiatic elephant are: (1) The African elephant has much larger ears (2) The trunk of the Asiatic elephant does not have the lower prehensile (usable) tip. (3) The Asiatic elephant has a hump back whereas the African elephant has a concave or ‘hollow” back.

The earliest known species of Proboscidea stood 60cm in height and evolved into Moeritherium. These split up over the years and became elephants and hyrax on the one side and dugongs and manatees on the other.

Both males and females have tusk although those of the females tend to be lighter and smaller.

Their brain is the size of a walnut.
As their eyes are situated on the side of their heads, they cannot see directly in front of them and this was put to good use by hunters.

The skin is crinkly or creased and because this, it gives it a larger surface area, allows for more cooling by whatever breeze may be around.
In certain areas such as the legs, and trunk the skin may reach a thickness of 1-2 inches.

Elephants have extremely long eyelashes.
Their tails are flattened on the end and can be covered with hairs up to 16 inches long and are used in the making of bangles.

Because they cannot sleep lying down as their weight on their diaphragm prevents them from breathing, they can be seen leaning against a tree trunk fast asleep. But usually they catnap where they are standing for about ten minutes at a time.
When fully grown, their daily consumption can be up to 650 lbs of green food and 280 pints of water per day. This is what the local zoo feeds each elephant per day.
The foot is spread out when on the ground and shrinks when raised, this allows them to walk very silently.

In times of drought, elephants will dig in dry riverbeds for water.

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