HomeAnimals9 Wild Elephant Facts That'll Blow Your Trunk Off!

9 Wild Elephant Facts That’ll Blow Your Trunk Off!

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A century ago, there were about 10 million elephants roaming our planet. Now? Sadly, just under half a million. Why? Blame it on hunting, humans taking their homes, and, yep, poaching. It’s a long shot they’ll ever bounce back to those numbers.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we’re trying to keep our big-eared friends safe. But still, around 20,000 elephants are killed for their ivory every year. And for what? Just to support an industry that’s clueless. Maybe if more people got the lowdown on elephants, they’d think twice before harming them. Fingers crossed. But hey, there’s always something new to learn, right?

9. Elephants Hardly Get Cancer, and Here’s Why

Think about all the challenges elephants face. It’s a relief knowing cancer isn’t really one of them. It’s super rare for an elephant to get cancer, and scientists think the TP53 gene is their secret weapon.

Here’s the scoop: When cells start acting weird and might become tumors, the TP53 gene jumps into action. It either fixes these odd cells or wipes them out before they can multiply. If these cells keep multiplying in a weird way, boom, that’s a tumor.

We humans have the TP53 gene too, but only two of them. And considering how often humans face cancer, these two genes have their work cut out for them. Elephants? They’re rolling with 40 of these TP53 genes!

8. Elephants Might Bury You If They Find You Snoozing

Elephants are big, majestic, and can be downright intimidating. As much as we might “ooh” and “aah” over their cuteness, there’s a healthy dose of respect (and maybe a bit of fear) there too. We’ve all seen clips of elephants getting mad and taking on cars or people.

But these big guys have a soft side too. They get sad when one of their own passes away and sometimes even bury them. The quirky part? They don’t just do this for other elephants. If they stumble upon a human body out in nature, they might just bury it. Even weirder, sometimes they find a person catching some Z’s and decide to give them the burial treatment. Imagine waking up to that! The person would probably play dead, thinking, “Oh no! What’s next?!” But most times, they just end up under some leaves.

7. Elephants Need Dad Energy, Too

You know, for all the ways elephants are different from us, there’s a bunch we’ve got in common. Like us, elephants grieve when they lose someone. Plus, these giants aren’t just smart—they’re self-aware. That makes the poaching tragedy hit even harder. But hold up, the list goes on.

Get this: just like some human teens, young male elephants can get a bit… hormonal. If these young’uns hang out in a group without an older dude around, they hit this wild phase called musth. Think of it like their teenage rebellion but with a ton more testosterone. They get super aggressive.

A while back, some teenage elephants that were left after a cull got mixed into a herd without a big bull elephant. Man, did they go wild. Their hormones went through the roof and they started picking fights left and right—even with rhinos.

Usually, these young males wouldn’t hit musth till they’re in their twenties. But here’s the kicker: one elder male elephant around can keep them in check. Yep, just having a grown-up male nearby means these youngsters get more time to grow up chill. So, basically, having a cool “dad” around keeps young elephants from being, well, total brats.

6. Elephants: The Cloud Whisperers

Elephants? Big ears. I mean, the biggest! So, it’s no shocker they hear like champs. But the real tea is just how epic their hearing game is. Okay, they hear stuff from miles away—better than us, sure. But lots of animals can do that. Elephants? They’re on a whole other level. They can literally hear clouds.

It’s not just about hearing far-off noises. These giants catch sounds we can’t even dream of. When a storm’s brewing, clouds make this super low-pitched sound called infrasound. It’s way out of our hearing league. But for elephants? It’s like a weather alert. They know way before other creatures when rain’s about to pour. Cool, right?

5. Elephants Understand Different Human Voices

Elephants aren’t just good at picking up far-off thunder; they’ve got a knack for human voices too. Now, you might think, “Big deal, my dog knows when I call its name!” But here’s the twist: elephants don’t just recognize sounds, they can tell languages apart.

These gentle giants can figure out if you’re speaking Maasai or Kamba, two human languages. And here’s why that’s cool: Maasai people sometimes pose a threat to elephants, while the Kamba usually chill. So, guess what? When elephants heard Maasai, they got a bit jumpy, way more than when they heard Kamba.

Oh, and get this: play a recording of Maasai women or kids, and the elephants? They’re cool as cucumbers. Why? They’ve figured out it’s the Maasai men they gotta watch out for, not the ladies, the little ones, or folks chatting in other tongues.

4. Kenyan Elephants’ Wild Salt Hunt

You’ve probably seen elephants working hard, like hauling logs or maybe bulldozing some poor fence on YouTube. These beasts are powerful! But did you know, they can be quite the savvy miners too?

Take a trip to Mount Elgon in western Kenya. There’s a gang of elephants there that’s one of a kind. These big guys? They’ve turned into salt miners. Yep, they venture about 500 feet deep into Kitum Cave and some others, using their tusks to dig out and munch on salt-laden rocks.

Just like deer munching on salt licks, elephants love the stuff. But it’s hard to find in their usual grub. So, when they find these sodium-packed caves, it’s like hitting a jackpot! They don’t drop by every day, maybe once in a blue moon, but when they do, they stock up big time.

Sure, other critters like buffaloes pop into these caves for some salty snacks. And yeah, some predators might swing by hoping for an easy meal. But only elephants have the tools and the smarts to mine that precious salt. How cool is that?

3. Elephants Chat Across Long Distances with Their Toes!

Guess what? We’ve chatted about elephant ears before, but it’s worth a second mention. Why? These giants don’t just use their ears for listening. They’re like nature’s walkie-talkies. You see, the sounds they make? Way beyond what our puny human ears catch.

Picture this: when an elephant chit-chats, it’s kinda like how we talk or sing, but it’s so deep and rumbly, it’s off our charts.

And here’s the kicker. When they “talk,” they don’t just send sound waves flying through the air. Nope! Those rumbles? They zoom through the ground and shoot right up into other elephants’ toes. Imagine feeling your buddy’s chat through your feet from miles away!

It’s like when you feel a big BOOM from a loud sound. That’s how these big guys chat. And using their super-feet and nifty ears, they can tell exactly where that chat’s coming from.

2. Elephants: The Birth-Giving Botanists

You know how we’ve got those old family remedies, like herbs for a cold? Well, elephants have their own tricks up their sleeves, erm, trunks. Here’s a wild one: when it’s baby-time, these mamas know exactly what snack to munch on.

Some elephant ladies were spotted chowing down on this herb, which, get this, Kenyan women have used for years to kickstart labor. At first, folks watching thought, “Hey, maybe she’s just hungry.” But then, bam! Baby elephant!

One keen observer had been watching this mama elephant for a whole year. Her menu? Pretty consistent. But then, one day, she binged on the red seringa tree. And not just a nibble. She practically ate the tree out of house and home!

Now, the cool part: locals turn this tree’s bark into a tea. Why? To get labor going. So, after seeing the elephant give birth right after her seringa feast, it’s kinda clear she knew exactly what she was doing. Smart, right?

1. An Elephant’s Surprising Second Visit

Elephants are known for having a memory that’s second to none. They can remember old pals, find their favorite grub spots, and a lot more. But sometimes, their memories lead to some eyebrow-raising tales.

So, here’s a wild story from 2022. A lady in India, just minding her business, getting some water from a river, had a scary run-in with an elephant. Outta nowhere, the big guy got all mad and, sadly, she didn’t make it.

Fast forward a few hours, the town’s getting ready to say their goodbyes to her. And then, guess who shows up? That very same elephant. It heads straight for her, messes up the whole funeral setup, and then bolts.

Now, we can’t say for sure it was the exact same elephant. But think about it: what are the odds of two

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