8 surprising facts that prove elephants are the greatest animals on earth
Elephants tend to be peoples' favourite animal.
From their grace to their intelligence and their portrayal in films like Dumbo, we just can't get enough of the cute creatures.
Here are eight facts about our favourite members of the animal kingdom.
1) Elephants are pregnant for nearly two years at a time.
Elephants have the longest pregnancy of all the animals. It takes a female 22 months from conception to give birth. The poor cows!
2) Elephants are sensitive creatures who grieve
When a loved one dies in the herd, elephants pay homage to them and even cry. They will approach the bones of the deceased and will gently touch the skulls and tusks with their trunks and feet. when an elephant walks past a place where a loved one has died, they will stop dead still and stay silent for several minutes. They can even grieve for human loss, when the "Elephant Whisperer" Lawrence Anthony died, a herd of elephants arrived at his house to mourn him.
3) They are almost blind but the rest of their sense are extremely heightened
Elephants have very poor sight and are also colourblind, however they can hear another elephant's calls up to 5 miles away and can also detect rain 150 miles away. An elephant can smell water from 12 miles away giving them best sense of smell in the animal kingdom.
4) They believe in girl power
Female elephants live in groups of about 15 animals, all related and led by a matriarch, usually the oldest in the group. The matriarch will lead them out of danger and take charge in testing situations. Female elephants, which are also known as cows, often help each other out with things like giving birth and raising calves.
5) They love water and swimming
Elephants like all mammals are excellent swimmers. They will swim with their mouth under the water using their trunk like a snorkel. They are also great divers and baby elephants will often suck water into their trunks and use it to spray their friends playfully.
6) Elephants can get sunburned
An elephant's skin is actually very delicate and can easily get burned in the sun. They therefore use sand or mud as sunscreen to prevent sun damage. When calves are sleeping, adults will often stand over them to give them shade and protect them from the sun.
7) They don't actually like peanuts
Despite all the cartoons and circus tricks you may have seen where elephants eat peanuts, they actually don't like them very much. They never eat them in the wild, and are more likely to eat plants, fruits and twigs. Elephants have big appetites and spend 16 to 18 hours a day eating, so it would take a lot of peanuts to fill them.
8) They're not scared of mice either
You can probably blame cartoons for this myth too. There is actually no evidence to suggest they don't like mice. They do, however, fear ants and bees. Sometimes farmers in African countries will also become beekeepers, because lining beehives along crops will keep elephants away.