Animals & Plants Fact List

40 Amazing Facts About Elephants

Here are 40 amazing Elephant facts.


1. Elephants are excellent swimmers. They swim submerged underwater using their trunks as snorkels. African elephants have been recorded swimming 48km. They can swim 6 hours nonstop then rest without sinking. – Source

2. An elephant’s ability to smell water is so refined; they can sometimes detect water sources from as much as 12 miles away. – Source

3. In the same way that humans tend to be right-handed or left-handed, elephants can be right-tusked or left-tusked. Their dominant tusk is easy to identify because it will be more worn down than the less dominant tusk, according to the World Wildlife Fund. – Source

4. Elephants console one another when they are upset with gentle touches and trunk strokes. Previously, only humans, great apes and birds in the raven family were known to do this. – Source

5. Beehive fences are used to deter elephants by taking advantage of their natural fear of bees and have reduced conflicts between humans and elephants with an 85% success rate. – Source


6. Elephants are one of the few animals who can understand human pointing, without any training. – Source

7. Baby elephants suck their trunks for comfort just like human babies suck their thumb. – Source

8. Elephants know to come to humans for help and can find us even over long distances. – Source

9. When Lawrence Anthony, an international conservationist famously known as the ‘Elephant Whisperer’, died, some of the elephants he worked to save came to his family’s home in accordance with the way elephants usually mourn the death of one of their own. – Source

10. In Cologne, Germany it is common to donate your used Christmas trees to the local zoo. An elephant can eat up to 3 of these trees a day and can also use them to clean their teeth. – Source


11. Elephants killed around 605 people in Assam, India b/w 1994-2006. In South Africa, 3 elephants killed 63 rhinos. Biologists think increased elephant aggression is the result of species-wide trauma from poaching and habitat loss, and direct trauma for those who saw family members murdered before their eyes. – Source

12. War pigs were used in ancient warfare, to counter against war elephants, which feared the pigs and would bolt. War pigs were sometimes lit on fire to enhance this effect. – Source

13. When elephants ‘dance’, they are mentally ill and depressed from confinement and restriction from freedom and socializing. – Source

14. Elephants are the only mammal other than humans which have chins. – Source

15. Despite elephant’s massive size compared to humans, they are 5 times less likely to die of cancer due to them having at least 40 copies of TP53, a gene that destroys cancer cells before they become a problem, versus 2 in humans. – Source

Image credit: Bumi Hills Foundation.

16. A 30-year-old elephant named Ben once sought help from Safari lodge after being shot by poachers. Ben patiently waited for six hours near the lodge for the vet to fly in and dress his 3 bullet wounds. – Source

17. Elephants don’t have a scrotum, their testicles are placed slightly behind their kidneys where the ovaries of a female would be situated.

18. Due to the high intelligence and strong family ties of elephants, some researchers argue it is morally wrong for humans to cull them. – Source

19. On worldwide average, 96 elephants are killed per day. – Source

20. When going to the battle, Rajputs would fashion false trunks for their horses, making them appear to be baby elephants which the enemy’s elephants instinctively would not attack. – Source


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  • # 28 is wrong. It is not the BOM that say that these things were not here, in fact, the book says that they were; however, it is archaeologists who claim that none of these things arrived until after Columbus did.

  • 41) A circus elephant named Mary was hanged by a crane in a trainyard in Erwin, TN after she killed her trainer in 1916.

  • #42. An elephant named Topsy was electrocuted at Coney Island in 1903 because it had killed its trainer (who purportedly had burned its trunk with his cigar) and two subsequent circus workers (who had purportedly stabbed Topsy with a pitchfork.) Originally, the elephant was to be hanged, but then an animal cruelty prevention organization protested that this was too cruel of a means of execution. So they settled upon a combination of poisoning, hanging, and electrocution. The execution was filmed and can be seen on YouTube. It lasted ten seconds. Erroneously, some have linked Thomas Edison to this execution claiming he was promoting and implementing it to show the dangers of AC (as opposed to his DC method of electricity). However, there is no proof that Edison was at all linked to this elephant execution. In 2003, a memorial to Topsy was erected at the Coney Island Museum.


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