Elephants look funny with their long trunks and big floppy ears, but these funny mammals are the largest land-based mammals in the world. Also, there are two types of elephants – the African elephant and the Asian elephant. The African elephant happens to have bigger ears and tusks than the Asian elephant and it also is bigger and taller in size. Wow! Surely you didn’t know that, did you? Similarly, there are many fun facts about elephants that make them such interesting animals. We have found some really good fun facts about elephants for kids, that we can’t wait to share with you.
Photo credit: Sarahemcc under CC license 2.0
Did You Take Long to be Born!
Did you know that a baby elephant stays inside its mother’s womb for 22 months? This is known as the gestation period during which the baby elephant develops inside the mother. Most elephants are ready to have babies, which are known as elephant calves, at the age of 16. However, because these animals have a long gestation period, in its lifetime, a female elephant usually does not have more than four calves.
Where is the Food?
Elephants spend nearly 75% of their lives looking for food and then eating it. They are herbivores, which means that they eat just plants. Elephants have a fondness for fruits and love to eat berries, coconuts and mangoes. They usually eat after sunset, when the weather is cooler. One single elephant can eat as much as 500 pounds of hay and drink 60 gallons of water in one day! That is one fun fact about elephants for kids to share with their friends.
Is That Your Nose?
The elephant’s nose is called a trunk. Just because it is long and wriggly, do not think that this trunk is just for show. In fact, an elephant’s trunk is very strong with about 50,000 different muscles. This allows the elephant to pick up anything weighing up to 450 pounds, if not more! The trunk also has an amazing ability to smell water. An elephant can smell water from a distance of 3 miles and head straight to the water source without a problem.
Photo Credit: shankar s. under CC license 2.0
I Love You More!
Elephants always roam in groups, which are known as herds. A herd usually is made up of 10 or more elephants. They are social animals and express their love for one another by wrapping their trunks together. In fact, elephants have very good memories. When they pass the bones of their dead herd mates, elephants will touch the skull and tusk of the dead elephant with their feet and trunk. Also, when they walk past the place where one of their relatives has died, the elephant will stop and stand still for several minutes.
Elephants Have Nannies
When a calf is born, the entire herd will protect the mother and the calf by forming a circle around them. Also, other elephants will keep nudging the baby elephant gently to force it to stand after it is born.
Fun facts about elephants for kids
- Elephants are good swimmers. They use their trunks as snorkels if they swim in deep waters
- Elephants walk at a speed of 4 mph
- These creatures tend to spend 16 hours a day just eating
- A fully grown elephant can weigh up to 14,000 pounds, which is the same weight as a school bus
- Elephants sleep for just 2 hours every day
Herd of African Elephants
photo credit: Benh LIEU SONG under CC license 2.0
Elephants truly are magnificent creatures. They have no known predators, other than humans. Humankind has been killing elephants for their tusks. This has led to a significant reduction in the number of elephants in the wild. The good news is that many foundations across the world, including International Elephant and WWF, are trying to reduce the conflicts between elephants and humans. Also, many anti-poaching laws have been enacted in several countries in Africa and Asia to protect elephants from poachers. These laws carry stringent penalties. There are also ongoing efforts to protect the natural habitat of elephants and stop illegal trade of ivory. With all these efforts, it is hoped that once more the largest animals will roam in the wild without fear.
Want More Elephant facts for kids?
More great sites with information on Elephants.