elephant ancients path pixabay

Elephants travel along ancient routes that have been followed for generations. They cross rivers only because they know what lies on the other side. Like us, their long lives and excellent memories enable them to accumulate a huge store of knowledge. And like us too, their strong family bonds allow them to share this knowledge between themselves.

elephant ancient paths eating grass

The oldest female always leads. The matriarchs’ 40 odd years of experience is vital for the success of the whole family group. The matriarch always knows what seasonal specialities are on the menu. She even remembers where baboons send manna sent from heaven where even an extendable trunk can't plug fruit from a tree that is 20 meters tall! Feeding takes up 80 per cent of an adult's time. They eat a hundred and fifty kilos of grass each day and their flatulence matches their appetite. They expel 2,000 litres of methane, enough to run the average gas fire for 10 hours.

elepahnt ancient paths knees

Crossing a river not so easy when there's a bank to negotiate. The first revelation is the surprising flexibility of the elephant body. It's astonishing how elastic four tonnes of flesh can be. The toenails can double up during the scramble which is just as well because when it is downhill its time to use those to dig in. While crossing a river, elephants don't get stuck because as a foot takes the weight it bulges to spread the load and when the foot lifts it contracts again to release the suction.

elephant ancients path trunk pixabay

Trunks evolved from a fusion of the nose and the upper lip and an elephant baby must learn how to use it just as a child has to learn how to walk. It will be a while before he can control the 100 thousand muscles that make the adult trunk the most versatile of all mammal appendages. It's a nose an arm and a hand all rolled into one. Their trunks can siphon up 9 litres in a single sip that's three times our average intake for a whole day. In a five-minute session, they can down the equivalent of three bath fills. Elephants need to drink so much because five litres evaporate through their skin every hour.

elepahnt ancient paths mud pixabay

Few animals could kneel on their back legs, but this is how elephants give their ticks a battering! Few skin parasites survive this kind of pummelling. The mud has other health benefits too and the whole business can be a lot of fun as well as dealing with parasites. The mudpack conditions the skin acts as a sunscreen and cools the elephant down. Mud, Mud glorious mud, nothing quite like it for cooling the blood.

elepahnt ancient paths chobe 3

The cliffs in Chobe in Botswana, a place or rare mineral wealth, have been carved out by generations of elephants! Here a rich seam of essential minerals comes to the surface- this is the elephant equivalent of opencast mining. The trunks delicately suck up the precious powder and blow it into its mouth. The powder contains minerals and salts missing from their usual diets- a dose of medicinal salts!  This skin treatment act as a general conditioner as well as keeping parasites at bay

Elephants are some of the most advanced creatures on earth. From one thing we can be sure - Dumbo is certainly far from dumb!




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