5 Traits That Prove Elephants Are Gentle Giants

<p>Antony Stanley / <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/antonystanley/6990402806/" target="_blank">Flickr </a>(<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/" target="_blank">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>)</p>

Elephants have been admired and loved by humans throughout history. In the beginning of time, elephants were revered for their large size and majestic mannerisms. Nowadays we know a lot more about these amazing creatures and there are some fun facts that will surely keep you guessing!

Photo courtesy of Amy Morrow, Thailand Elephant Sanctuary

1. African elephants are the largest land mammals on the earth, ranging from 10 to 13 feet in height and weighing between 11,000 to 15,400 pounds! The legend of elephants' intelligence and excellent memory goes along with the title of having the largest brains.

2. Despite their great size, elephants are known to be gentle creatures. Studies have found that elephants have been known to avoid eating type of acacia tree because it is home to ants which often frighten the elephants. Talk about delusional! (Actually, the logic behind this one is that the ants can get inside their trunks which have many sensitive nerve endings.)

3. Elephants are good listeners, but not because of their infamously huge ears; elephants can use their feet to listen, picking up rumblings and vibrations in the ground.

4. Humans and elephants share a few quirky traits: calves have been observed sucking on their trunks and scientists conclude that it seems to be for comfort, just as baby humans suck on their thumbs! Another silly sight is seeing elephants throw sand on themselves and their children. Why? Ancient sunscreen of course! Elephants can get sunburned and protect their skin with sand and dirt. Not to mention elephants and humans are the only two species to have chins - it just gets weirder and weirder!

5. Ready for the kicker? Elephants don't even like peanuts. Elephants don't come across them in the wild and they're not fed peanuts when they're captive in zoos. Sorry Dumbo, that one's just a myth!

By Kendall Heldoorn Love elephants? Help care for elephants and try volunteering at a Thailand Elephant Sanctuary, or help reduce human-elephant conflict with the Namibia Desert Elephant Conservation project.

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