I wrote about our trip to Addo Elephant Park when we were in South Africa. Addo is the third largest conservation park in South Africa (the Kruger National Park is the biggest), and we saw well over 200 elephants while we were there.
In the park is a wonderful museum and knowledge centre, where I learned so much about elephants that I did not know. For example, elephants grow six sets of teeth. When the last set wears out they are unable to eat and usually die of starvation. They also have no necks because their entire head can weigh over 400kg – hence the truck to enable them to reach both downwards and upwards. The African Bush Elephant is the largest land animal in the world
- cannot jump
- walk on their toes
- produce 120kg of manure a day
- purr like cats but really loudly. It sounds almost like a lion growling
- can give birth until they are 50
- are pregnant for 22 months
- are afraid of bees
- have four molars– two on top and two on bottom. Each molar weighs around 2.5kg and is the size of a brick. They can only grow 6 sets of molars over their lifetimes. When the last set is lost, the animal is unable to eat and eventually dies.
- have bad eyesight
- grieve, and show compassion
- have feet that spread out under their weight but shrink when lifted
- have four front-facing knees
- used to be classified as pachyderms and lumped with the rhino and hippopotamus. Scientists now place them in their own order, the proboscidea, along with the extinct mammoths. There are three species of elephant living today: the African Bush elephant, African Forest elephant and the Asian elephant.