Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Amazing African Elephants

For as long as I can remember I have had a fascination with elephants. While they are all interesting creatures, I found through some simple research that the African elephant has some truly amazing characteristics. The African Elephant is the largest land dwelling mammal, and somehow manages to consume nearly 5% of their body weight in addition to drinking 30 to 50 gallons of water per day! (AFW: Wildlife: Elephant).

These elephants travel in small herds led by a matriarch. However, they “keep in touch” with relatives. “Several interrelated family groups may inhabit an area and know each other well. When they meet at watering holes and feeding places, they greet each other affectionately” (AFW: Wildlife: Elephant). The elephants also communicate through low-frequency sounds (too low for humans to hear) which allows them to be able to communicate from 5 to 6 miles away! They also have a unique way to communicate when a predator is visible. “Elephants communicate with an ear-splitting blast when in danger or alarmed, causing others to form a protective circle around the younger members of the family group” (AFW: Wildlife: Elephant). Not only are these elephants attentive, caring parents to their young, they also care for the offspring of other African elephants. “An orphaned calf will usually be adopted by one of the family's lactating females or suckled by various females. Elephants are very attentive mothers, and because most elephant behavior has to be learned, they keep their offspring with them for many years” (AFW: Wildlife: Elephant).

It may not be everybody’s “thing” but I could go on for pages about the fascinating behaviors of the African elephant. If you want to learn more check out these articles!

http://www.awf.org/content/wildlife/detail/elephant (original article)



Posted By: Ericka Adey (7)


At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What types of behavior are displayed when the elephants greet each other affectionately? How do the elephants behave when they encounter non relatives and unfamiliar elephants in the area? If there is a difference in behavior, what might be the reasons?

How long do they keep the offspring? Does this vary between male and female elephants?


At 7:37 PM, Blogger PWH said...

I was wondering if we can hear their alarm calls because I've heard elephants make noise, is that their alarm call?

At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elephants certainly are incredible animals. What causes these behaviors described? Why would it be advantageous to help other mothers young, and why are they so close-knit? You described some of their friendlier characteristics, but are they ever violent?

-Cecelia Hunt

At 9:31 PM, Blogger PWH said...

I always pictured elephants to be slow and lazy animals. I didn't know they carried so much responsibility. Although, I have noticed a few times that they do seem like affectionate animals. In terms of protecting their young is this done by both the mother and father or is it mainly the mother? Also, how affectionate are the males? Are the behaviors of the males and females similar?

Chantal Gomes

At 10:47 PM, Blogger PWH said...

I love elephants too, I did not know a lot of their characteristics. I think it is interesting that they "keep in touch" with their relatives. How do they do this? It says they greet each other affectionately, but how do they know who their relatives are? Could it be from scent or do they remember certain features of their relatives maybe?

-Tara Quist

At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't realize that relatives meant anything in elephants. I was wondering, you mentioned the caring for young being cooperative at times, if elephants mate for life or there are many mates or potential mates for a male?

Amanda Joyce

At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't know that elephants also care for the offspring of other African elephants. I guess they are really different from say, lions. But since they are relatives, I guess this is also some kind of altruistic behavior. Very interesting article.

Hanbing Guo

At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious to know how elephants know who their relatives are if they have never seen them?

- David Huynh

At 8:17 PM, Blogger PWH said...

African Elephants are very interesting animal to me. It sounds like elephants' behaviors are a lot similar to human. Which is very interesting. Can you explain a little bit more how do they greet to each other? and how can they notice their relative in wide area?

So Jin Lee

At 8:54 PM, Blogger PWH said...

I never knew that these elephants communicated through low frequencies as well as a high pitch splash of water. Is there a different way the elephants alert each other in the presence of predators when they are not near water? It's amazing how social these animals are. Not that many species would care for the young of another individual.

Rob Lubenow

At 10:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know how you feel. I love African elephants too!!! You gave a lot of description to elephant's touch and hearing senses, but what of their nose? Also what in their ears allows for them to hear such low frequency sounds and how does the sound travel? If it goes up to six miles, won't trees get in the way if it travels in the air?

Ada Marie Flores

At 11:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elephants are really neat, and this information is interesting! Why do you think the elephants help other elephants? I understand it could be like humans, but we also learn that animals want their own genes passed on. What are the actions like specifically when the relatives meet each other? Do families stay together forever, like humans?

-Alyson Paige

At 11:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like your blog; I find your article especially interesting, because elephants are one of my favorite animals not only because of their caring nature but also of their massive memory span. I had never head of their use of low-frequency sound to communicate, and the fact that they adopt other elephants, that makes me appreciate elephants even more. Thanks for sharing this interesting article.

Tenzing Y. Dundutdang


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