• Photo by:- Peggy Dyer

Elephants Facts

Thai Elephants:

  • Thai elephant males without tusks are called ‘Seedor’ in Thai.
  • Thai elephant females are called ‘Pang’ in Thai.
  • ‘Plai’ is Thai for a male elephant with tusks.
  • ‘Chang’ means elephant in Thai.
  • Only 7% of Thai elephant males have tusks.
  • Thai elephant females do not have tusks, but some have tushes which are large incisor teeth.
  • The ears of Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants and shaped like India.
  • The Asian elephant elephant trunk has one finger which it uses to pick up and manipulate objects.
  • The skin of Asian elephants is fairly smooth.

African Elephants:

  • African elephants are larger and heavier than Asian elephants.
  • Both male and female African elephants have tusks.
  • Unlike their Asian relatives, African elephants are not easily domesticated.
  • African elephant ears are larger than Asian elephants and shaped like Africa
  • African elephant trunks have two distinct fingers which it uses to pick up and manipulate objects.
  • The skin of African elephants is dark and wrinkled. 

All Elephants:

  • Elephants are the largest land mammals in the world.
  • Of all land mammals, elephants have the largest brains weighing between 4.5-5.5 kg.
  • Like humans, elephants are born with their eyes already full-size.
  • Elephants’ skulls are pierced with many air pockets to make them lighter; otherwise their heads would be too heavy for it to lift.
  • Elephants flap their ears to use air as an internal air conditioning system.
  • The trunks of elephants are an extension of their upper lip and have 50,000 interlaced muscles, making them incredibly strong, yet highly sensitive.
  • Elephants breathe through their trunks 80% of the time.
  • Elephants regurgitate water from their stomachs and use their trunks to spray their bodies for cooling.
  • When they swim, elephants use their trunks as snorkels.
  • Elephants smell water up to 9km away, drink up to 60 gallons a day, and are fantastic swimmers.
  • Elephant trunks are multi-functional and are used to smell, communicate, pick up a grain of rice, lift a heavy log, show affection and defend themselves.
  • Most elephants have 18 toenails (five on each front foot and four on the back feet); those with 20 toenails (five on each foot) are believed to be auspicious by the Thai people.
  • Elephants’ sweat glands are between their toenails.
  • Herd animals, elephants’ herds usually consists of females who are related to each other, with as many as 30 elephants in one herd. Males will stay with the herd until they are old enough to live alone, typically between the ages of 12–15 years. The herd leader is usually the oldest female, called the matriarch.
  • Vegetarians, elephants eat for 18–20 hours a day and consume 200 different types of grass, leaves, trees, and fruit.
  • Elephants live up to 80 years old.