90 Interesting Facts About Elephants

Last updated on June 4th, 2023

60. Elephants have a diverse habitat. They can be found in forests, savannas, woodlands, and grasslands.


61. Elephants actually play an important role to their region’s ecosystem and biodiversity. They forge pathways through dense forests to allow other animals to pass through. With their trunks, they dig waterholes that other animals use as well. Because they travel long distances, they also distribute tree seeds through their dung, thus helping in building forests and woodlands in many regions.

62. Elephants help humans earn money as well. They are a huge part of tourism in certain parts of Africa and Asia because people come from other countries to see them. Unfortunately, in certain places, elephants also experience abuse just to cater to tourists.

elephant in circus
Interesting elephant facts. Photo © Cheryle Myers

63. The elephant appears in the variant of the flag of Thailand, specifically their Royal Navy flag. It is also the country’s national animal.

64. Because of their size and sheer magnificence, elephants were frequently used by much smaller humans to win wars. Some of the most famous of these warrior elephants include Surus (Hannibal’s mount), Kandula (Sri Lankan King Dutugamunu’s mount), and Abdul Abbas (Charlemagne’s own war animal who incidentally avoided fighting).


65. Elephants are most active during dawn and dusk. This categorizes them as crepuscular. This is a cool fact about elephants for kids.

66. A baby elephant is a huge baby that can weigh up to 120 kg. He/she can stand on his/her own just 20 minutes after being born. In just an hour, that baby elephant will be able to walk. At two days old, a baby elephant can begin walking side-by-side the rest of the herd.

67. A male elephant can reach his full size beginning at 35 years of age.

elephants interacting with humans in a park, elephants trivia
Interesting facts about elephants. Photo © Wrangel

68. Elephant trunks are a marvel of creation. An elephant can use her trunk to smell and feel objects, including food, other animals, and humans; she can also use it to collect and blow water, dig holes, and hold heavy objects. She can even use her trunk as a natural snorkel when she goes swimming.

69. An elephant’s tusk is actually his incisor teeth. Tusks begin growing in an elephant starting at two years old. 


70. Although elephants communicate by trumpeting, they also “talk” to other elephants using their trunks and their scent. They also use seismic signals – vibrations in the ground that they can feel through their bones.

71. The gestation period for the African elephant is 22 months while for the Asian elephant, it’s 18 to 22 months. That means, if a human mother and an elephant mom both got pregnant at the same time, the human mother’s baby will have learned to crawl and maybe walk by the time the elephant mom gave birth to her calf.

mother and baby elephants drinking water
Interesting facts about elephants. Photo © Nigel Swales

Phenomenal memory 

72. Elephants are known for their keen memory. This may be due to the fact that they have large brains and more neurons. These neurons, however, may have to do more with the elephant’s muscle functions. Regardless, elephants have shown to have excellent memory, capable of remembering how to reach certain watering holes even after being away for a long period of time. They can also remember friends even after being apart for many years.

73. Can elephants talk? An Asian elephant named Koshik seems to be able to speak Korean. Although his vocabulary is limited to just five words, this is impressive, given the size of his larynx, the shape of his lips, and the presence of his trunk. He can even match the pitch of his trainers.

Pay tribute

74. Researchers believe that elephants have a way to honor their dead, or at least, other elephants that have passed away. If an elephant herd comes across a pile of elephant bones, they stop, touch the bones with their trunks, and stay within proximity for hours at a time. They do not exhibit the same behavior with the bones of other animals.

75. Elephants have shown ability to use tools. They use sticks for scratching and branches to swat away flies. Some elephants have been observed to dig a water hole, drink from it, then cover it with chewed-up bark. The bark helps prevent the water from evaporating. 

76. Kandula is an Asian elephant who learned to use tools while under observation by researchers. A fruit was placed at a location just high enough to be out of his reach. After a few days, Kandula used a plastic block as a prop and was able to reach the fruit. He repeated the same strategy with other similar objects in other tests.


77. The men of the Masai tribe have killed wild elephants before. When researchers recorded their voices speaking the Masai language along with those of the Kamba tribe speaking their own language, the elephants showed fear when they heard the Masai voices. They had no reaction when they heard the voices of the Kamba men or that of the Masai women and children. The elephants were afraid only of the Masai men.

78. The Masai and the Kamba volunteers recorded the same sentence but spoke their own respective languages. The research is significant in that it shows that elephants understand language and that they understand that only Masai men (not Kamba men or Masai women/children) pose a threat.

Pink elephants

79. If some elephants appear pink or mottled, it is simply because of pigmentation or lack thereof. This characteristic appears only in Asian elephants.

80. Although elephant skin appears dry and rough, it can actually feel soft and delicate. This is an surprising fact about elephants since majority of the people who see elephants do not get a chance to touch and feel their skin. 

Feet for thermoregulation

81. If dogs “sweat” through their noses, elephants keep cool using their feet. Elephant sweat glands are found in the area near its cuticles, which is why during warm weather, elephants’ toenails may appear wet.

a group of elephants
Photo © ActiveSteve

82. Elephants are actually revered in many cultures and are part of myths and legends of certain societies. They also symbolize wisdom, majesty, loyalty, intelligence, luck, and strength.

83. The term “jumbo”, which means large or enormous, was actually the name of another famous elephant. The beloved pachyderm was a resident of the London Zoological Society until he was purchased by P.T. Barnum for $10,000. Exhibiting the elephant in multiple shows in America allowed Barnum to recoup his expenses in just two weeks.

84. Jumbo was the main star of P.T. Barnum’s circus from 1882 until 1885 when he died in an accident. Even after his death, Barnum still made money out of him by showing off his skeleton and hide to paying crowds.

85. Out of the many elephants that the Japanese used as pack animals during WWII in Burma, 13 were captured by the Chinese. Of these, only seven survived and were in turn tasked to work. Three were brought to Taiwan in 1947 for more work and in 1950, only one elephant survived. His name was Lin Wang, which means forest king. He was considered a WWII veteran and was wildly popular among the Taiwanese.

86. Lin Wang was a resident of the Taipei City Zoo beginning in 1954 and became the mate of a younger female named Ma Lan. By that time, he was an older elephant and was enjoying his retirement. Lin Wang and Ma Lan were transferred to another larger and roomier facility. It was here that Ma Lan passed away at just 54 years old. Just months later, in February 2003, Lin Wang followed his mate at age 86. He was found lying on his side by the pool.

87. Lin Wang’s death was mourned by the Taiwanese people for three days and about 180,000 locals paid their respects. Even then-president Chen Shui-bian sent a wreath to Taipei. To honor the elephant who saw four generations of Taiwanese grow up, Taipei’s mayor Ma Ying-jeou bestowed the beloved bull an honorary Taiwanese citizenship posthumously.

88. Some elephants are not as lucky as Lin Wang, who was able to live out his life in relative peace and quiet after being used as a pack animal. An Asian elephant named Topsy was sentenced to death by hanging and electrocution through a public spectacle. On January 4, 1903, Topsy was led to a platform to be killed. She refused to budge and was instead electrocuted to death where she stood.

89. Topsy was supposedly a “bad elephant” who killed a man. Unfortunately, she was simply a victim of bad handling and even worse publicity. She was originally sentenced to be hanged for her “actions” in front of a paying crowd but this was prevented by the ASPCA. Instead, she was fed poisoned carrots, strangled, and mercifully died from electrocution.

90. Asian elephants are at risk, some countries are experiencing over population of African elephants.