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August 5 2011 6 05 /08 /August /2011 14:31

Elephants are fascinating creatures as a species but their babies are also extremely interesting in their own way. This article takes a look at some interesting facts regarding baby elephants.

Gestation period

The gestation period of an animal is roughly the amount of time it takes for a baby to form in its mother's womb before it is born. This varies among every different species of animal on earth, with the human gestation period being nine months. Amazingly, elephants actually have the longest gestation period out of any living animal on earth at a staggering two years. Once they are finally born, baby elephant cubs are known as calves.

Babies weight

New-born elephants are born with an incredible mass of between 77 kg and

113 kg. Despite their huge weight, this represents only around 4% of an adult female's weight and only 2% of an adult male, hence showing us just how big elephants are and just how much they weigh when they become adults.

Feeding

Baby elephants feed on 11.4 litres of milk a day which, like most animals, is provided by their mothers. The weaning period to get them off their mother's milk is also a large amount, with elephants feeding from their mothers until the age of ten. An interesting fact about baby elephants when it comes to feeding is that almost immediately after a calf is born, the mother helps it to its feet and an elephant can automatically stand up. This is vital as the baby needs to be able to stand to be able to feed himself from his mother.

Growing up

When it is born, a baby elephant's brain is about 30 - 40% the size of an adult's brain. Just like a human brain, an elephant brain also is effectively a clean slate and must be taught how to live. Elephants are taught to be amazingly sociable, which is important as if a calf's mother is to be attacked and the calf is orphaned for some reason, the baby elephant will already have the necessary skills to be able to interact with the rest of its herd.

The trunk

When a baby is first born, its trunk is pretty useless as it does not understand what it is or how to use it. Over time, and as it matures and learns about the world around it, the elephant learns how to use it and eventually develops into an adult elephant. An adult elephant is one of the most powerful animals in the world.

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Published by James Hughes - in Wild animals
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