Fascinating Facts About Uganda’s African Elephants
African elephants are one of the commonest wildlife species you will encounter while on Uganda safaris, especially within Kidepo Valley, Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, Bwindi Impenetrable, Kibale Forest and Semliki Forest National park among other places. They are part of the most sought-after and adored animals because of the enormous size but most importantly the interesting facts that you are about to discover. The facts include;
Firstly, the world elephant is derived from a Greek word “elephas” meaning ivory and there are two distinguishable species of elephants in the World that include Asian and African elephants but the latter are less hairy than the former.
African elephants are scientifically known as Loxodonta Africana and are characterized by their highly deft trunks capable of even killing lions, long curved tusks and large ears.
These animals are considered the largest and heaviest mammals on earth. They can weigh from 6000 pounds to 15,000 pounds. The largest recorded African elephant in the World weighed 24,000 pounds lived in Angola before being shot in 1956. These mammals are herbivores and eat large quantities of food, up to 400 pounds everyday so as to survive. Funnily, these animals hate and detest peanuts so much. They can stand up to 4 meters/14 feet tall at their shoulders.
What will interest you about these animals is how they communicate with one another. They stomp the ground with their large feet hence sending sub-sonic ripples through the ground which the receiver collects through the very sensitive nerves in their feet. The process of ground-shaking is very powerful and fast in a way that can be transported even faster than the sound waves through the air. Elephants also communicate with one another through their growling noise. This thundering sound is a way of signaling danger to the other individuals.
Not only do they have an infatuation with sand but is a very important part of their lives. Even when they have tough and weather-worn wrinkled skin, elephants tend to be sunburned, which is why they always douse their large bodies in sand using their trunks which toss the sand over their backs and legs, as a way of reducing effects of the harsh sunlight on their skin. African elephants also do this to their calves that have more sensitive skins.
Elephant tusks and trunks are some of the physical traits of the African elephants. It’s surprising that Asian elephants don’t posses tusks which is why the African elephants are always killed due to the high value of their tusks in the black market.
Their gestational period is normally 22 months-more than any other land animal in the World and a newborn-calf normally weighs 118 kilograms/260 pounds (yet a human baby weighs averagely 3 kilograms/7 pounds). Calves can stand up immediately after being born. African elephants give birth after three to four years and the males leave their herds between 12 and 15 years.
Both male and female elephants have tusks that can measure up to 2 meters/6.5 feet long. Surprisingly, their tusks are normally their upper incisor teeth. They have very large ears that are used to radiate excess heat away from their bodies.
Elephants are one of the Big five animals that you will encounter during Uganda safaris. Others include African lions, leopards, Rhinos and Buffaloes. Interestingly, their behavior is linked to a number of animal intelligence behaviors that show sympathy, sorrow, self-awareness, selflessness, music, play and art among others.
Just like most mammals, African elephants have structured social order and spend most of their lives within complex families comprising of father, mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, sons, daughters and infants.
Their average lifespan is 60 years in the wild and even more (70 years) in captivity but the oldest recorded elephant lived for up to 86 years (born in 117 and died in 2003), thus can live for as long as humans.
Did you know that Elephants have the largest brains in the animal kingdom and don’t have sweat glands? Well, it is strange but very true. Even with their heavy weight, they can swim for long distances.
Therefore, I hope you enjoyed the facts about African elephants thus you can make a safari to the Pearl of Uganda, Uganda to learn even more interesting facts about these large mammals.