I think one of visitors to Addo Elephant National Park’s favorite parts is seeing baby elephants. They are cute and look cuddly, are very inquisitive and draws many ooohhh’s and aaahhh’s. Here are a couple of “Did you know” facts about baby elephants.
- An elephant’s gestation period is 22 months. The longest pregnancy of all mammals.
- A baby elephant is called a calf
- When a calf is born it can weigh up to 90kg and stands about 1 meter high
- Like all other baby animals a baby elephant is very vulnerable to predator’s. For the first three months he will stay very close to his mother at all times for food, warmth and support.
- The elephant is the only animal other than primates that have their mammary glands in the form of what looks like “breasts” between their front legs.
- A baby elephant can consume over 11 liters of milk a day
- The calf only gets weaned off at between five and 10 years of age so you will often see bigger calves still drinking from their mothers.
- For the first year of their lives the baby elephant can’t really control their trunk. They need to learn how to use it like a baby human needs to learn to walk.
- When a calf grows up the females will stay with the herd for life, while males leave to begin a solitary life at about 12 to 14 years of age. They are normally pushed out the family group when they start to show an interest in the females.