Elephants are the largest animal on land. They are also the second tallest land animal right after giraffes. Elephants are mammals just like us. These giants can’t be mistaken for anything else and can be found in Africa and Asia.
One thing that you would notice about an elephant is his or her floppy ears. The purpose of those ears are not only for hearing, but also for cooling off. The inside of an elephant’s ears have tiny blood vessels. The skin of the ear is very thin, and the blood vessels are very close to the surface. Heat is released from the ears when the temperature of the elephant’s blood is greater than the temperature of his or her surroundings.
But the most obvious thing that you may notice is the trunk. Like noses, they are perfect for smelling and breathing. They also help the animal eat and drink. Elephants suck up water with this nose and spray the water into their mouths. These behemoth pachyderms also use their trunks to shower themselves to keep cool.
A group of elephants is called a herd. The leader is called the matriarch and she is in charge of what the other herd members do. The morning routine starts out with a visit to a lake. There they will bathe and have a drink. Elephants drink a lot. After their visit, it is time for breakfast. Elephants can eat up to 300 pounds of leaves, fruits, grass, and branches a day. Mealtime can last for hours. Then they pause in some shady area for a midday rest. As evening comes on, they will sometimes go back to the lake to drink again. Then they will go off and have dinner.
There is a very famous myth that elephants are afraid of mice. That could not possibly be true. After all, an elephant can easily squash such a tiny rodent. Elephants rarely encounter mice in the wild where they share living space with much scarier creatures like lions and tigers. Elephants have poor eyesight so they probably wouldn’t even notice mice.
Sadly, these herbivorous giants are disappearing. The conservation status for African elephants is vulnerable while Asian elephants are endangered. That is because people keep hunting them for their tusks.