Random Ramblings

Random Ramblings: Personal observations on a wide variety of subjects. Photographs of creatures and things that are taken on seeing the unusual as well as everyday things.

Weighty vegetarian

It has always been very puzzling to me how a four-legged vegetarian, unable to use its mouth to graze and plucks its food with a prehensile snout, can eat enough to grow to the size of an elephant. Added to this an elephant chews as slowly as an educated gentleman, walks hundreds of miles and can run up to speeds of 25 miles per hour or 40 kilometres per hour – but still it manages to grow in both height and girth.

Elephant walking towards the camera

Elephants - all three at WMS

There are a little herd of three African elephants at West Midland Safari Park - here is a clip showing two of the elephants playing the harmonica.

An elephant in the wild if not slaughtered for its tusks or its feet may live into old age. In fact, they have been known to live as long as a man. In Africa, that is up to seventy years and in Asia (a slightly smaller elephant easily identified by its small ears) up to eighty years.

Elephant playing with a stick at West Midland Safari Park

Elephant rolling in the mud

Elephants in the mud

These are very young elephants and are still in their teen years – their pictures were taken at WMS. 

Elephants can not only make the beautiful trumpeting sounds that man has listened to for thousands of years but they also have a very low pitch sound that is used as language. This sound is so low it travels through the ground for hundreds of miles and becomes something similar to a telephone system. If a herd is in trouble or wants to communicate news then it can advise herds many miles away. This is very useful as the wild herds split into genders. The females and younger members of the herd congregate together, feeding and visiting water holes whilst the male members go off in another group. They meet up occasionally and during these periods the older females are usually impregnated before the males depart once more taking with them any of the male calves that have reached maturity. A baby calf grown inside its mother’s womb for 22 months before being born. Elephant puberty is similar to that of humans and range from usually ten to fifteen years of age.

Whilst watching these beautiful animals one of them picked up a fairly thick stick and stomped off with it waving it backwards and forwards and onto its back. After a while the elephant put the stick against the ground still holding it tightly at the top with its trunk – it lifted one of its feet and pressed down onto the stick snapping it in half. The elephant then found a much lighter and slightly longer stick and pick it with its trunk (you can see the stick in the elephant’s truck on the first of the three pictures above) the stick was whisked this way and that, tossed up in the air, curled up in the elephants trunk then uncurled. The game went on for at least a further ten minutes before I left and even then the stick was still being manoeuvred about in this elephant game. This is the first time I have ever seen an African elephant playing – it was hypnotic to watch.


Steve said...

You can't get as big as an elephant on land and be anything but a grazer- there isn't enough prey to support it. In the water, however, whales are less limited on how big an area they can search for food, so they can grow even bigger than elephants.
Great writeup of elephant facts!

Shinade aka Jackie said...

Steve is right Polly. This is a great write up on elephants. i do so love them.

It is so sad to think they may be extinct in the wild before all of my grandchildren grow up.

How anyone can be so heartless to slaughter these wonderful creatures is beyond my reasoning!!!

jenn said...

I am an elephant lover and collector, and love your pictures and story. Thanks for sharing.

Duni said...

Thank you for sharing this. I have always been fascinated by elephants.
Slaughtering these intelligent creatures is an abominable act.

Grampy said...

The Elephant is a beautiful creature.I would like to thank you for such an informative post. Like Jackie it saddens me to think how they are slaughtered so. Once again it is the greed of man. Much the same as the wonderful whale. We watch Whale Wars and see what the Japanese are doing to the Whales. The almighty dollar wins again.
Have a good day.

Shinade aka Jackie said...

Polly if I remember correctly you ask me about the flowers I posted the other day.

They are zinnias and quite common and very simple to grow.

I was able to get them to grow and bloom a little while living in Maine which has a climate similar to England.

The only thing I find different is here they actually come back every year.

While in Maine I had to start my seeds inside early spring and then transplant them into my garden.

They do like heat and it does take a rather long time each season for them to reach maturity.

But, one they begin blooming they last until the first frost.

I hope that was the question you asked.

Oh yes, the butterfly, I actually have no clue as to what type he is. But, it's the one and only one that is here and the 1st time I have seen it here.

There I think I answered all now. Cheerio!!:-)

Dorothy L said...

Anything about Elephants has always amaze me.
They are what I consider a most admirable & Unique species.
Thanks so much for sharing :)

Steinar Arason said...

Hello, great blog you have. I just found you accidentally...

Elephants are magnificent creatures and really informative. Did you also knew that elephants has the biggest brain of the whole living creature on our planets?

I followed you and see you around.

Steinar Arason

askcherlock said...

The elephants are beautiful and fascinating to watch. It is so sad the things that we humans are doing to cause their extinction. They have survived so very long but now, who knows. Thanks for discussing this important topic.

Sashindoubutsu said...

I enjoyed the post. I learned a lot about elephants! I was absorbed by the story and was really fascinated by what I was reading. :)

Slaughterers of these wonderful animals should be kicked in the butt.

RearVuMirr said...

I have always been amazed by elephants. It rips my heart out to think of them being slaughtered for their ivory. It's amazing how they will stay with their sick and fallen family in worry and grief.