So you’re a party and you ask everybody what their favourite animal is. At Koala Chess Art HQ, we have no doubt that somebody will say elephant. Maybe even more than one person. But why? Well, let’s find out more about them with some facts!
- As you may or may not know, the elephant is the largest land animal alive. In fact, the largest elephant ever known was a male African elephant which weighed 24,000 pounds and was just under 4 metres tall at their shoulder. Now that’s big!
- Not only he largest in body mass of the land animals, elephants also possess the largest brain. Highly developed, their brains are 3-4 times larger than a human’s and weighs around 5kg. They aren’t, however, as large as a sperm whale’s which weighs a crazy 8kg!
- So did you know that an elephant is pregnant for 22 months? Again, this places them at the top of the leaderboard for any other land animal. This claim is only pipped by frilled sharks, who carry their baby for 42 months, and the alpine salamander, who is pregnant for a whopping 48 months before giving birth.
Elephant Bath Time
- An elephant does however live longer than an alpine salamander. In fact, the oldest known elephant lived for 86 years! This unnamed elephant was on earth between 1917 and 2003 and saw the turn of the millenium. The average elephant does however live between 50 and 70 years - which is still a long time!
- The word ‘elephant’ comes from the Greek word ‘elephas’ which means ‘ivory’.
- Speaking of ivory, you probably know that elephants have tusks, but did you know these are actually modified incisors? In other words, they are teeth! These tusks grow at a rate of about 7 inches per year, and the largest one ever found was a massive 10 feet long - weighing over 200 pounds! That’s a big tooth. I wonder how much the tooth fairy would give you for that…
- But it isn’t only the tooth fairy that is interested in an elephant’s ivory. Sadly, around 100 of these wonderful animals are killed each and every day for their tusks. As a result, elephant numbers have dropped by a devastating 62% over the last decade - meaning they could very well be extinct by the end of the next.
“The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?”
-Sir David Attenborough
At Koala Chess Art HQ we are keeping our fingers crossed for these big beautiful animals and we hope that humanity soon learns the value of compassion and leaves ivory to its rightful owner.