Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thailand Fun Facts: Elephants!

Thai elephant from the zoo.  Really, I can't tell if he's Thai...but the least I know is that he's not from Africa.  Read below to find out why I am so sure...

Thailand Fun Facts: Elephants!

This week, our Fun Fact series focuses on elephants.  Just forget that I forgot to post any Fun Facts last week.  It never happened.  Literally.  I blame it on my life-long inability to be consistently consistent.  I am sure that none of you even noticed anyway...so I won't even mention it.  Here 'goes...

* GENUS : Elephas Maximus (largest elephant)  COMMON NAME : Asian or Indian Elephant
* The Asian elephant is second only to its African cousin (Africana Loxodonta) as the largest of all land animals.
*  Newly born baby elephants (calves) stand 3ft high and weigh 200 lbs. 


* They have smaller ears than the African elephant.  Although small, their ears are so important for cooling them off. 

This guy is an African Elephant.  Check out the size of those ears!  Their ears are about three times bigger than those of an Asian Elephant like the ones picture elsewhere in this post.  Now you know!

* Elephants sweat only at their toenails!
* Elephants have an excellent sense of hearing and are said to be able to pick up some sounds over distances of ten miles! No sneakin' up on these guys...
*  The trunk can be used to move a 1,500 pound tree or to pick up a coin - extremely versatile!  Can you do that?
* At its tip the Asian elephants trunk has a single "finger." 
* Did you know that elephants cannot jump!  Neither did I!
* Thai elephants usually, but not always, have four toenails on their front feet and five on the rear.
* In the 1908s, there was a banning on logging, which put most domesticated elephants in Thailand "out of work."  Now, people work hard to save these animals (who can't safely re-enter the wild) by creating attractions for tourists (like our trip to the zoo a few weeks ago).  The money spend on seeing, riding on, feeding, taking pictures of, buying paintings from (you heard me!), etc. helps to keep these animals alive.
*  100 years ago there were at least 100,000 elephants in Thailand. They were a treasured resource. Now sadly, their number has dropped to under 5,000.

I am sure this elephant enjoys being put to "work" - entertaining kiddies (mine are on the right) and eating sugarcane.  Its a hard-knock life for them.  It definitely beats dragging logs around all day!

Sugar cane.  The snack of champions!

Elephants are purely vegetarians. Their favorite foods include: Bananas, bamboo, berries, mangoes, coconuts, corn, jungle shrubs, palm fruits, sugar cane, wood apples and wild rice. 
*  If YOU come to Thailand to visit us, we'll go visit all the elephants you want to see.  That's a fact!

sources: Eleaid, HandicappedPets, Elephant Art Gallery

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