In mythology, Elephants are a symbol of good luck and prosperity. They are known as the destroyer of evil and remover of obstacles. They represent strength, power, wisdom, and memory. In India, there are millions of temples dedicated to the Elephant God, Ganesh. Lord Ganesha is said to clear obstacles and pave a new way forward in life. In the physical world elephants are the largest land animal. One of the most oft-repeated elephant facts you may have heard is that elephants are scared of mice. This is actually a myth and its origins date as far back as 77 A.D. You can find more true and interesting facts about elephants below!
8 Fascinating Elephant Facts:
1. Elephants in the wild can live up to 70 years old. (source) Due to illegal ivory poaching, their life span has been cut down drastically and they are at risk of going extinct. An average of 200,000 elephants are poached per year.
2. Elephants have complex family relationships and are highly intelligent, emotional, and compassionate. (source) The matriarch is the female head of the family and calves are raised by the entire herd. Elephants use their trunks to sooth scared babies and they have been seen morning their dead loved ones, having moments of silence and visiting old graves years later to pay respects.
3. Elephants can weigh more than 14,000 pounds (6,350 kilograms). (source) Asian elephants are typically smaller than African elephants and can weigh between 5,000 and 11,000 pounds (2,268 and 4,989 kilograms) .African elephants can range are on the larger size and can weigh up to 14,000 pounds (6,350 kilograms). Even a baby African elephant can weigh between 200-300 pounds (90.7-136 kilograms) when its born.
4. Elephants can run upwards of 25 mph! (source) Wild elephants are always on the move and can cover over 15 mi (25 km) every day. It is very difficult for elephants to run at their top speed for more than 50 meters due to their heavy weight. They can maintain a slow running pace for less than a mile although this is more like a trot because an elephant always has at least one leg on the ground at all times when running.
5. Elephants can eat for 16 hours a day an consume over 600 lbs of food. (source) An elephant’s normal water consumption is 25 – 50 gallons per animal (100 – 200 liters) and they can defecate 12-15 times per day.
6. Elephants may have poor eyesight, but they possess the strongest sense of smell known to any species. (source) Elephant trunks are five times more powerful than human noses, two times stronger than dogs, and even stronger than what most consider the animal with the greatest sense of smell, the rat.
7. While we learned elephants are not scared of mice, they are scared of one thing: bees. (source) Elephants have very good hearing and will kick up dust and nervously flap their ears if they hear the buzzing of a beehive, they avoid them at all costs.
8. Elephants usually do not have any natural predators aside from lions that will occasionally attack elephants if they are young or weak. (source) The biggest threat to elephants continues to be the humans who kill them for their ivory.