Elephants are intelligent like primates and dolphins, which means they live complex lives with an interesting social structure, a measure of self-awareness, a need to grieve when someone in their family circle dies, and they have the ability to remember. Relating to the latter ability, Elephants have brains structured to remember. (Source)

I’m sure I’ve seen elephants in a zoo or at a circus many years ago, but I don’t have a specific memory of them. I’ve always been fascinated by them, especially how profoundly they grieve. 

The zoo and circus experience can be tough on animals. But I found a cool sanctuary in Tennessee that offers a haven for elephants.

FunFacts about Elephants (Source) (Source)

  • There are three species of elephants: The African bush elephant, the African forest elephant and the Asian elephant.
  • The elephant’s natural habitats are found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
  • Their long trunk or proboscis is used for breathing, lifting water and for moving things.
  • Their incisors grow into tusks which can be used for battle, for digging, and for moving objects.
  • Elephants’ large ears work to cool their bodies.
  • African elephants have larger ears than their Asian counterparts.
  • Elephants are herbivores.
  • Predators, like tigers, lions, hyena and wild dogs, prey on the calves.
  • Females (cows) tend to live in family groups led by the most dominant female called a matriarch.
  • Males (bulls) leave the family groups at puberty. Males tend to live alone or with other males.
  • Calves are the focus of the female groups and will stick close to mom for up to three years.
  • Elephants are smart and are similar to primates and to the whale-dolphin-porpoise group called ‘cetaceans’. All these mammals appear to be self-aware and show empathy for the dying or dead of their kind.
  • Elephants have been used in war.
  • In Asia, elephants are used as working animals.
  • African elephants are on the ‘vulnerable’ list while Asian elephants are on the ‘endangered’ list.
  • Only one mammal can’t jump: The elephant.
  • Elephants can live to be over 70 years old.
  • An elephants’ skin is an inch thick.
  • A female generally will only give birth three or four times in her lifetime. Her calves will average 230 pounds at birth. The pregnancy lasts 22 months.
  • Elephants purr like cats do for communication.
  • Elephants cry, play, laugh and have long memories.
  • Because elephants’ feet are thickly padded they can walk almost silently.
  • If a baby complains, the entire family will go over to it to touch, caress and soothe.
  • Elephants are social and will hug by entwining trunks.
  • Elephants remember their dead: ‘Elephants pay homage to the bones of their dead, gently touching the skulls and tusks with their trunks and feet. When an elephant walks past a place that a loved one has died, he/she will stop dead still; a silent and empty pause that can last several minutes.’ (Source)

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For a chance to win this paranormal romance bracelet, scroll to the bottom of the page and read the details for entering. You will be leaving a comment as the entry requirement. Giveaway ends midnight, Arizona time, October 5, 2017.

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And now, here are the photos! Enjoy!  (Photos from Pixabay…)

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*** This Week’s Giveaway is Closed***

We have a winner: Congrats Karen M.!!!

September Winners: Tamara K., Malissa P., Denise H. and Betty O.! Congrats!

August Winners: Kim S., Dianne K.C., Pansy P., Tamara K., Marie S.

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29 thoughts on “Elephants

  1. Elephants have always been my daughter’s favourite animals. I can remember her doing a project on them in Grade 5. I love how maternal elephants are and the calves are just so adorable.

  2. I have felt the “hair” on an elephants leg before. Extremely wiry. Icky. I find their grieving behaviors to be fascinating.

  3. Gosh Caris. I love in Tennessee and didn’t know we had a elephant sanctuary!!!!!.Middle Tennessee is about 5 hrs from us but I honestly don’t know if many In North East Tennessee know that? The Knoxville Zoo has elephants that my kids rode years ago. Ive seen documentaries on elephants and cried seeing them grieve for lost family members. Thank you for the info about the sanctuary I went to the web site and checked it out.

  4. I love the pictures with the babies! They are just adorable! I have a vivid memories of visiting a circus that came to my town when I was about 5 and getting an elephant ride. This put me into a Dumbo phase and I can’t tell you how many times I watched that movie! I’ve seen them in the wild in Africa. I can’t imagine giving birth do a 200+ lb baby! And now I’m imagining a baby elephant cuddling with me and purring while I scratch it behind the ears like I do with my cats!

  5. What an amazing creature, the elephant. I have seen some – in zoos or animal preserves. I knew of the long memory. “Memory like an elephant” has been in my lexicon for as long as I can remember. (In my case that may not be so impressive.) I also had some nubious ideas that the elephant respected it’s dead in some way – old movies with an elephant grave yard in it. But, I didn’t know just how deeply that “respect” went. Awesome.

    Again, some wonderful “fun facts” and I learned something. It will be a good day. Thank you.

  6. I have always loved elephants. I have watched so many documentaries and read so much research on them. When I was little the zoo in Utah had an elephant that you could ride around on. There was a small path in the enclosure, and they had a trainer who would lead the elephant around that path. You would climb into the small box seat and they would walk you around the track. When I think about it now it makes me angry for the elephant, but at the age of 4 it was the highlight of my life. I can still remember the joy and excitement from that 1 minute ride. One of the items on my bucket list is to visit Africa and see the elephants in their habitat. Until that happens I content myself with the numerous pictures, carvings, blankets, pillows, and stuffed elephants that my children have given, and continue to give, me throughout the year. I might just have to change my bucket list item to going to Tennessee and visiting the sanctuary. Thank you for sharing the wonderful pics!

  7. Hi from Georgia. Elephants are beautiful creatures. I rode one at a circus when i was a child. I love picture #1 with the baby elephants playing.

  8. I went through a wildlife drive through park. They are so cool! Can be so gentle. Remember seeing that video where the adult elephants saved the baby one when it couldn’t get out of the pond. I like the picture of the close up of the eye. I live in central California.

  9. Elephants are so fascinating, as your facts on them prove. We love the elephants that we visit at the San Diego Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo. Truly a wonder of nature and so at risk, due totally to man’s greed. These photos show us what a marvelous creature an elephant is!

  10. SPOILER: Not a pleasant post.

    Yet again I will harp on the poachers.
    To watch elephants crashing dead to the ground from being shot and the others in the herd screaming is sickening and horrifying.
    All for the ivory.
    When countries start imposing the death penalty for the poachers of the elephants, tigers, silverback gorillas, rhinos, et al, maybe then they will avoid extinction.
    But, I don’t hold out much hope.
    Tigers are predicted to go extinct in my lifetime.
    Just think about it for a minute.
    Extinct….but not from natural, progressive causes.
    The ramifications when a species goes extinct affect the entire balance of nature.
    It won’t be the first time mankind has wiped out an entire species.
    And also destroying the environment world wide is the cherry on the top.
    Will it ever stop?
    Perhaps. When there’s nothing left to ravage.

  11. I admire elephants for their loyalty and love of family. I had read about elephants graveyards and how they mourn and remember their dead but not to the extent you shared with us. What amazing and intelligent animals. Thanks for the information.

    I live in Minnesota.

  12. I have seen elephants in zoos and in the circus. Like pickture #3 – Mama with Baby!! The calves are just so cute and get into such mischief too. They really are amazing and so intelligent. They are so like us in remembering their dead.

  13. I’ve only seen them at the zoo. We have a great set up at the Cleveland Zoo. I love these beautiful animals. They are such social creatures.
    How I wish they were safe in the wild :(.

    I’m in Ohio.

  14. I watched this documentary on elephants migration and one of the babies couldn’t handle the long walk without water and passed away in mid walk. It was the saddest thing I had ever watched. The mother just stood there making these sad sounds trying to nudge the baby into moving. It was sooooo heartbreaking that I cried like a baby! On the lighter side…I was able to ride one of these majestic beautiful creatures. I was only around 9, or so. I felt like I was riding a mountain lol. It was such a great experience and memory.

    • Oh yeah… there was this elephant at our local zoo named Fanny. She was there forever and boy was she awesome! When she got cranky she would take all of the peanuts everyone would give her and spray them at everyone in the crowd. It was hilarious lol.

  15. Love the photo of the elephant throwing dirt.

    My first memory of seeing an elephant is at the Philadelphia zoo. I’ve seen elephants many times at various zoos and circuses. I remember seeing some elephants at a small circus a few years ago–the kind that travel from town to town and pay locals to help take down the tents. They were the saddest-looking elephants I had ever seen. My heart went out to them.

    I have a wonderful stuffed elephant my grandma made me.

    Elephants are very trendy–I know several people who love elephant-themed items.

    AL the Elephant is the mascot at Alabama where my middle son is. I have a t-shirt with an elephant on it. Almost bought an elephant-shaped purse in the university store. it was 3D.

    Some have said I have a memory like an elephant.

    Denise from Maryland

  16. Once again, I’m blessed by your comments and sharing. Your memories are becoming my memories. I’ve been toying with the idea of building a dragon world to add to my PNR series. So, I thought, what if dragons were in a circus-like environment and gave rides to children. They would probably be enslaved and forced to do it, but could they communicate telepathically with the children? Could they instill a grand scheme in these young minds? Yup, my imagination running away with me again…

    Hugs all around,

  17. I found the facts about elephants fascinating. A life span of over 70 years is long, but I don’t envy a 22 month pregnancy (9 months is hard enough).

  18. We have them at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC and they have them in a natural habitat setting. It’s a great zoo. and we love going. We always see the Elephants. Our Grandson loves to go.

    • We went to Riverbanks Zoo two years ago.on our way to Myrtle Beach. I had always saw the signs for it and wanted to go so we left a day early & spent the night in Columbia. It was a really nice zoo. Would like to go back again to it.

  19. Love how much I learn everyday and starting my day with these wonderful pictures s something I look forward to doing. Elephants are amazing creatures!

  20. Being from South Africa elephants is very close to my heart. Unfortunately they also face the possibility of extinction due to poaching for their tusks. We have a huge problem protecting our wildlife especially our rhinos. There has been a huge effort to ensure our animals are safe. We have specially trained dogs that can track any poachers and they do a terrific job. From jumping off helicopters and facing other predators in the wild. We’ve heard that Australia wants to import some of our rhinos to give them a fair chance for survival. I think it won’t be long before they will include elephants. Elephants are amazing animals and have a really long memory. They mourn their deceased family members. They are magnificent.

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