The largest known African Elephant was a bull standing over 13 feet tall and weighing a little over twelve thousand KG. The longest tusk in Asian Elephants was that of a bull from Srilanka called Millangoda Raja. The tusks were nearly 8 feet long and almost touching the ground.
The average age of elephants is anything above 50 and can go on to around 70 years. There have been cases of elephants living longer but they were quite few. In herds, very old elephants and sick elephants are cared for by younger ones. They are often seen supporting them while walking and even bringing them food and water.
Like humans, these elephants are born toothless and tuskless. They develop milk tusks and teeth like our babies and the set of milk teeth and tusks are replaced with regular tusks and teeth as they grow. Elephants have almost 5 to 6 sets of teeth (unlike humans where we have 2) as their food habits involve a lot of crushing, tearing and chewing, which wears out teeth faster. The newer teeth growing behind the tusks push out the older ones on each cycle.
Elephants, true to their massive sizes, are incapable of jumping, a trait they share with a few other mammals like Sloths, Rhinos and Hippos.
Yet, given their massive sizes, they have very small set of eyes which are quite poor in terms of vision range, which is a mere 30 feet at the maximum. However, what they lack in vision they make up in their highly developed sense of smell thought to be superior to that of any other land mammal. It is believed that the elephant can process and distinguish different odors from miles away.
Get set for the great Elephant show at Kabini starting late January 2013 which lasts until the rains come in. It is an event one should not miss, for it is just not a visual treat, but also a great opportunity to get a first hand view of the characteristics, customs and routines of these magnificent beasts, which are a pride of our nation.