5. Raising an elephant is a 16-year commitment and often takes a village.
The largest land mammal on the earth has one of the strongest bonds between her calf. With the longest gestation period of any mammal (22 months), elephant moms nurse their calves for four to six years. Even after they are weaned, elephants stay with their mothers for about 16 years.
Even more impressive -- elephants, which live in tight-knit matrilineal family groups, are really raised by more than one female in the herd. In a phenomenon called "allomothering," sisters, aunts and any other females will help care for the baby, giving mom a much-needed break. And it's a full time job to raise a baby elephant, who are known for being entirely reliant on mom -- and for getting into sticky situations: