Knowledge - RISC

Huge creatures have some abilities and habits you might not know

Created By RISC | 5 months ago

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Elephants have been in our country for a long time... But these huge creatures have some abilities and habits you might not know. ​

Did you know?
 
Elephants can communicate with each other over several kilometers by sending and receiving low-frequency sounds that we can’t hear. They can also communicate using their trunks to touch and smell. They greet each other by wrapping their trunks like a handshake. They also use their trunks to flirt, to warn, or to surrender. Elephants can use their trunks to detect smells at a distance, alerting them to danger.

The elephant's gray skin is about 2.5-3.0 cm thick. But they can sense insects or changes in the environment. That’s why we often see elephants pouring mud on their bodies. Mud acts like a sunscreen and prevents insect bites. It also helps elephants maintain their body temperature. Wrinkles give more space to keep cool and trap moisture.​

The elephant's large ears help them balance. They flap their ears to create a gentle breeze, cooling their blood vessels. Male elephants may flap their ears to spread scent too.​

Elephants have brains like those of a human, whale, or dolphin. They’re smarter than many animals. They can make sounds, play music, create art. They have feelings and thoughts. They show communal feeling and sympathy. They mourn for dying or dead companions.​

Elephants live for 60-70 years on average. They have a gestation period of 22 months and have only one calf at a time. Baby elephants are the center of their family’s attention and require their mothers to care for them up to 3 years. Males and females live very different lives. Females spend their whole lives in a family or herd with strong relationships, with about 5-15 mothers, children, siblings, aunts. These groups are led by the oldest female. Large groups will split into smaller ones. Incredibly, these elephants can recognize which groups came from the same relationship.

Adult males spend most of their time alone on the margins of the herd. Young males battle for domination. Only the strongest gets to mate. The less powerful male elephant will have to wait their chance.​

Thai elephants are affected by habitat loss from forest encroachment and farming. Wild elephants come into conflict with humans, including illegal ivory trading. RISC hopes that you can appreciate the qualities of elephants. They have thoughts and feelings just like us.

Story by: Kotchakorn Rattanama, Biodiversity Researcher, RISC

Reference from ​
The Zoological Park Organization of Thailand
https://elephantvoices.org/ ​
Shoshani, J. (2006) Taxonomy, Classification, and Evolution of Elephants In: Fowler, M. E., Mikota, S. K. (eds.) Biology, medicine, and surgery of elephants. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 0-8138-0676-3. Pp. 3–14.​

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