National Elephant Appreciation Day: 10 Crazy Facts About Elephants

Sunday is National Elephant Appreciation Day—a holiday observed every September 22—and what better way to celebrate these tough-skinned animals than listing 10 crazy facts about them?

1. The African elephant is the largest land mammal on Earth, and its brain can weigh up 5.4 kilograms. (And by the way, did you know they also make rumbling sounds that are considered to be similar to purring in cats?)

2. African elephant ears are the shape of Africa. It's one of the ways you can tell them apart from the Asian elephant. Also, the African elephant lives longer than the Asian elephant and is heavier.

3. Ever heard of an elephant hug? They don't hug exactly like we do, but elephants do wrap their trunks around younger relatives to reassure them. When they greet each other, they twine their trunks. However, anatomically, the trunk is a combination of the upper lip and nose. So, basically, elephants hug with their noses.

4. Elephants can learn and feel emotions, and if a member of their family group is injured, the rest of the group most likely will come to help it. Don't upset them, though; elephants have six sets of cheek teeth (molars and premolars) in their lifetime. You wouldn't want to get in between those nashers.

5. Elephants can swim and use their trunks as a snorkel when crossing rivers. They also use their trunks like a hand in other ways, such as holding branches, scratching themselves and throwing large objects in threat displays.

6. A female elephant's pregnancy is the longest of any mammal; full-term is 22 months. Elephants can also live to the age of 70.

7. Baby elephants love their moms and stay with them for up to 10 years. They learn to eat by taking food from their mom's mouth with their trunks.

8. Mud bath anyone? Elephants can get a sunburn and use the mud to protect their skin from the sun. They have grayish to brown skin, and their body hair is sparse and coarse.

9. Elephants can reach speeds of up to 40 kilometers per hour. And when it comes time to rest, they often doze standing up because they find it hard to lie down and get up.

10. People assume that elephants are noisy, but they sometimes make sounds we can't hear. The pitch of their calls can be below the range of human hearing. Low sounds from the trunk are a growl, snort or roar, and high sounds are trump, bark and cry.

Elephant Appreciation Day 2019
National Elephant Appreciation Day is held on September 22 each year. iStock