Tanda Tula - swimming elephants in South Africa
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Fun Elephant Facts

Shara Burger | Wildlife

1. Elephants live to be over 70 years old and can reproduce from the age of 16. Most females will only have 3 or 4 youngsters throughout her lifetime.

2. Elephants are the only mammals that cannot jump.

3. Elephants, just like humans, are either “left or right-handed” preferring one tusk over the other. They use this favoured tusk for digging, stripping, pushing, lifting and so on.

4. Tusks are actually their incisor teeth.

5. An elephant’s trunk has over 50 000 muscles in it – bear in mind a human only has 600 muscles in their whole body! An elephant can actually tell the size, temperature and shape of an object just by inspecting it with their trunk.

6. Their trunk is used mainly to put food and water into their mouths.

7. Elephants are highly sensitive animals and express emotions such as grief, compassion, self-awareness, consideration and playfulness.

8. Elephant’s feet are covered with soft padding. They use their feet to pick up the vibrations of sub-sonic rumblings made by other elephants, up to 20 kilometers away. Often you will find elephants standing dead still with their feet spread and trunk resting on the ground – they are communicating with other elephants in the distance.

9. They are extremely social creatures and if a member of the herd has been away for a while, they will have a whole greeting ceremony by intertwining their trunks.

10. They are able to use their trunks as snorkels; this allows them to swim in deep water.

11. Elephants use their ears to help cool them down. The high number of blood vessels behind their ears work as a cooling system, the warmer it is the more they will flap their ears to keep their body temperature low.

12. Unbelievably, elephants pay homage to the bones of other dead elephants. In a very spiritual ceremony, an entire herd will stop then using their trunks and feet, they touch and feel the bones, then stand still and silent for several minutes until they quietly move on.

Tanda Tula - elephant eye on the best safari in South Africa

Tanda Tula - elephant herd on a photographic safari

Tanda Tula - elephant tail on a photographic safari

Tanda Tula - herd of elephants on safari

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