Big butts… and ears: World Elephant Day!
It’s world Elephant day and we’re celebrating those big butts in all their glory!
It’s world elephant day and I like big butts and I cannot lie! When I see those big elephant butts waddling across the savannah with their big ears flapping away it really does make my heart sing (and Sir Mix A lot play in my head). Sadly there aren’t as many elephant butts around to admire these days but luckily their population is slowly starting to grow. Here are some incredible elephant facts to celebrate World Elephant Day.
- Kruger National Park has one of the largest concentration of African elephants in South Africa.
- Tembe National Park in South Africa is home to the largest elephants in the world!
See Tembe’s elephants for yourself! At the Zululand Wildlife Conservation Project
- There is an easy way to see if an elephant is male (bull) or female (cow) – bulls are larger with a more rounded head and very big tusks. Cows have smaller, more angular heads.
- An elephants’ lifespan is determined by its teeth! They have 6 sets of teeth and each set will move forward replacing the older teeth. When they are in their 40s their final set of teeth comes into place lasting for around 13 years. Once they are gone they aren’t able to eat properly and die. Time to invest in elephant dentures!
- Elephants typically live for 50 – 70 years but the oldest known elephant lived to be 86 years old!
- An elephant is able to suck up 14L of water in their trunk at any one time. As well as drinking the water, they also spray it over their bodies and then cover themselves in dirt which acts as a sunscreen.
- There are almost 100,000 different muscles in their trunk including small ‘fingers’ which they use to grab small items.
- There are two confirmed subspecies of African elephant – the savannah elephant and the forest elephant. Forest elephants are smaller, darker and have straighter tusks than savannah elephants.
Learn more about these subspecies on our Professional Field Guide Course
- A third sub-species, the West African Elephant, is currently being investigated but more research is required before it can be re-classified.
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) lists the African elephant as ‘Vulnerable’.
- There has been considerable research into the African elephant but it is still difficult to determine exact population levels because elephants cover a wide range and often live in dense habitat which makes them hard to see from the ground or air.
- African elephants can be found in 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa with the largest known population in Southern Africa.
- African elephants are now extinct in Burundi, The Gambia and Mauritania. They became extinct in Swaziland in 1920 but were reintroduced in the 1980s and 90s.
If you are looking for something to add to your bucket list then look no further than a trip to South Africa to see the giant African elephant trudging through the forest. You might even be lucky enough to see a baby elephant running around and waving his ears and truck and he weaves in between the heard. Now that is something you won’t forget in a hurry!