Questions and Answers about the Elephant

What is the difference between the African and the Indian elephant?

An elephant is probably an elephant – or is it? Here are some tips on how to tell the difference between the African elephant and the Indian elephant. Who knows, maybe you can see which elephant you are facing the next time you visit a zoo.

The African:

Where the African elephant differs most from the Indian is in the size of the elephant’s ears. The ears of the African elephant are far larger than those of the Indian. In Africa, there are two types of elephants – the savannah elephant and the forest elephant. The savannah elephant is the largest of all species of elephants. It grows up to 4 meters high and has a combat weight of up to 7 tons. African elephants weighing over 10 tonnes have even been found. The highest point of an African elephant is over the shoulders where it for the Indian is at the back. The African elephant is more wrinkled at the neck than the Indian is. Both female and male elephants get tusks. In general, the male is the largest.

The Indian:

The characteristic of the Indian elephant is that it is smaller than the African one. Its ears are smaller, its body is smaller and its weight is smaller. The Indian elephant grows between 2.5 and 3 meters above the back, and weighs on average approx. 3.5 tons. The Indian elephant is extremely underrepresented compared to the African. There are between 300,000-400,000 elephants in Africa, while in Asia there are only between 35,000-50,000. The Indian elephant is also called the Asian elephant, and is found in 13 countries in Asia. In the Indian elephants, only the males develop tusks. The females must be ‘satisfied’ with small curves.

What is ivory?

Ivory is a set of teeth that, like diamonds, has a pattern of curved lines that intersect with each other. The net can be clearly seen on a cross section of the tooth. Confusingly, many believe that ivory is of the same mold as the teeth found in hippos, narwhals, walruses and warthogs, but the term ‘ivory’ should be limited to elephants. Ivory has long been valued as a material for jewelry and artefacts. Because ivory is at such a high rate, poaching in the 1970s was to blame for the drastic drop in the number of elephants.

Ivory is the elephant’s tusks that grow throughout life. The largest tusk found weighs 117 kg. Ivory hardness and color can vary depending on whether it is females or males that develop them, or what area the elephant comes from. The tusks of the forest elephants are brownish and harder than the tusks of the savannah elephants. The elephant uses its tusks to defend itself, or to dig with. Work elephants also use them to lift heavy objects.

Elephants die of starvation

In addition to tusks, the elephant has a total of 6 sets of cheek teeth in the upper and lower jaw. They are flat almost brick-shaped with strong folds. Only one set of teeth is functional at a time. When a set is worn down, the underlying cheek teeth push themselves forward to take over the chewing function. Most elephants die of starvation because all their sets of teeth are worn down.

Is the elephant really afraid of mice?

We all know the adult elephants from Dumbo, who let their trunks trot when they see a little mouse. Is it because they are scared or is it really a completely unrealistic reaction?

Let’s face it once and for all:

NO – elephants are not afraid of mice, it’s an old tale. Many people think that elephants are afraid of mice because they imagine that the mouse could find its way up to the trunk of the elephant. However, this has not been the case.

However, the story must not be completely rejected. Mice can easily cause elephants to trigger an alert trot. Elephants, like other animals, are frightened by what they cannot see. Elephants are a curious animal. They are therefore also curious about what is moving in the shrubbery or grass. If elephants can hear the puzzle, they become curious, and if they can not see where the sound is coming from, then they come up on the dots. Thus, it is not only mice that can bring the elephants forward with the trunk, but all small animals that are not equally visible to the elephant.

How much water can be in an elephant’s trunk?

When you are a large animal, you also need many liters of water a day. It is often seen that the elephant uses its trunk to bathe itself with, but how much water can there be in a trunk? The elephant’s water consumption is approx. 200 liters a day. Therefore, it also requires some fullness in the trunk in order for it to accommodate and carry the many cubic meters. The Indian elephant’s trunk is said to be able to hold approx. 8.5 liters of water. The African can hold a little more for 10 liters. The trunk is led up to the mouth and empties the water therein.

If the elephant is very thirsty, it can drink several 100 liters in a few minutes. The record for an Indian elephant is to drink 212 liters of water in 4.6 minutes. In comparison, it is approx. 1 tenth of what a normal circular swimming pool contains of water. Elephants are also a picky animal. They therefore choose their water holes with careful care. Observations of the elephants show that they clearly prefer water holes that have a high content of mineral salts – especially sodium. .

Are there elephant graveyards?

As such, elephants have no enemies other than humans who have long killed elephants to sell the valuable ivory on the black market. The elephants therefore most often die a natural death. The rumor of elephant graveyards is probably best known from stories like The Lion King and the book edition of Tarzan. Here one was convinced that elephants went to a special place to enjoy their last time as an elephant. The rumor should be seen more as a fairy tale rather than something realistic. The body of the elephant is often found at water holes, which is why it is confused with a cemetery. Elephants are herd animals and therefore choose not to die alone. An elephant dies when its teeth are worn down. These are the approx. after 60 years.

Since female elephants are a herd animal, they protect the members of the herd, alive and dead. Besides man, the elephant is one of the few creatures that has death rituals. The elephants stay with the deceased elephant and mourn the loss. The grief over the deceased can even be so strong that the elephants often stay by the body for several days to mourn. Chimpanzees and dolphins are also animals that perform special rituals when a member of the herd dies.

Where is the elephant?

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