fbpx

Interesting and surprising facts about elephants

Jul 15, 20211 comment

Thick-skinned and mammoth in size elephants are always suffering from the heat as they spend a lot of time baking in the hot South African sun. The produce a lot of body heat due to their large size, daily activity and consumption of large amounts of food. Elephants have a metabolism that burns through roughly 300kg of food a day. For a fully-grown elephant, you can imagine how hot they must be.

Elephants have different methods to help cool themselves down. The easiest of course is to stand in the shade but with the African sun that doesn’t always help. They also use their ears as a cooling mechanism. A lot of people think that if an elephant is flapping its ears it’s aggressive but most of the time it’s just a way to keep the body cool. Through ear flapping, they cool the body in two ways. Firstly the movement of the ears creates a breeze that blows across the body to help them cool down. But more interesting is that with those large ears they pump blood through the ear. The flapping motion cools the blood that then gets circulated back through the body to reduce their body temperature. The ear has been recorded to be up to 6′ C cooler than the rest of the body.

They also use dust, dirt and mud to cover their body’s to protect their skin from the harsh African sun. In addition, an elephant’s favourite way to cool off is by taking a dip.

Kapama elephants big five
Kapama elephants big five

In addition, an elephant’s favourite way to cool off is by taking a dip. Elephants are natural-born swimmers. They can swim completely submerged underwater, using their trunks as a snorkel to breathe. Swimming is a great way for an elephant to cool off while having fun at the same time. Water is a great way to cool off especially as they can submerge their whole body into it.

Kapama elephants big five

If an elephant is hot they seldom resist taking a swim. It cools them down and helps take some weight off the feet. Their massive bodies allow them to easily float and thereby rest—making it nearly impossible for them to drown! They enjoy the time in the water which can last for a few minutes up to a few hours. You will often find them playing with each other, falling over and diving deep when they are in larger dams. They use this as a bit of downtime after a long feeding session in the hot African sun.

Story and photos by: Buffalo Camp Ranger Chris Reiners

 

Covid 19 compliance badge

To view our current special rates and offers visit our website here for all the details.

 It’s time to renew your soul in the African bush, we are ready to welcome you back and give you an experience to last a lifetime!

1 Comment

  1. Lauren

    Wow! Such an interesting blog post. Really didn’t know that their ears are sometimes 6 degrees colder than the rest of their bodies.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Lauren Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest news

Winter morning safari

Winter morning safari

It is common for lions to miss most of their hunting attempts. They generally only have a success rate of about 20-30%. It was also low for these particular lions we were watching.

read more
Women’s Month – Kapama’s women guides paving the way

Women’s Month – Kapama’s women guides paving the way

During this Women’s month we honour and pay tribute to our proud female field guides pioneering the path forward for other women to follow in their footsteps. All across Africa female guides are breaking barriers and challenging stereotypes by moving into a male dominated industry.

read more
Sustainable Tourism Development in Africa

Sustainable Tourism Development in Africa

This cook book has been recommended by the World Bank to help Revive Tourism in Africa. The book is dedicated towards not only Tourism but Sustainable Development in Africa and Climate Action initiatives.

read more
Lions on a Hunt

Lions on a Hunt

So naturally, I turned the game vehicle around and followed the young lions. Much to our great surprise, these lions began to show signs of stalking prey. I turned to my guests and explained the behaviour of these young Lions.

read more
Endangered Species Day

Endangered Species Day

An endangered species is any animal or plant at risk of becoming extinct or in danger of being eradicated from the Earth. The 21st of May is Endangered species day. A day we can shine a light on the animals whose numbers have declined so much over the years that they have sadly found a place on the endangered species list.

read more

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This