18 surprising facts about elephants

Submitted by Archiver on Sun, 21/10/2018 - 18:00
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Elephants can have babies until they're 50 years old. Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

While Elephant Appreciation Day is September 22, it doesn't mean that we can't celebrate these gentle giants every other day of the year.

Elephants are some of the smartest and most compassionate animals on the planet, and they're always a big draw at the zoo — but how much do you really know about them?

From their five-inch eyelashes to their 22-month pregnancies, here are 18 things you probably never knew about elephants.

An elephant's trunk weighs 400 pounds — but can pick up things as small as a single grain of rice.

Elephants can recognize themselves in the mirror. They join humans, apes, and dolphins as the only animals with self-awareness.

They are afraid of bees. Farmers even use beehives to deter elephants from coming onto their land.

Elephants can have babies until they're 50 years old.

Elephants are pregnant for 22 months — it's the longest gestation period of any mammal.

Elephants are born blind.

They also weigh up to 260 pounds at birth.

The oldest elephant lived to be 86.

They "hug" their trunks to say hello to each other.

Elephants have no need for mascara — their eyelashes can be up to five inches long.

They are extremely emotional creatures — elephants even grieve lost family members.

The elephant's closest living relative is the hyrax, which resemble "a large guinea pig with a grouchy-looking overbite."

African bush elephants are the largest land animals in the world — they can weigh up to 13,000 pounds.

They're the only mammals that can't jump — even when they're running, elephants always have at least one foot on the ground.

Elephants can be trained to fight fires by carrying crews and equipment into remote areas, like they did in Indonesia in 2015.

They use their trunks as snorkels when they swim.

They can spend 16 hours a day eating.

Elephants yawn.


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