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5 things you (possibly) didn’t know about elephants

Many people travel as a way of seeing stunning wildlife in its natural habitat – and elephants are certainly a popular species to spot on safari.

They are also fascinating creatures. In recognition of World Elephant Day, the team at Flight Centre share their five top elephant facts with us:

They eat 200kg of food a day – Elephants spend most of their day chowing down on plant-based delicacies, eating for around 18 to 20 hours, and will happily swallow an entire bunch of bananas or a quarter of prickly pineapple

They like to bath – It is easy to assume that, given their size and wrinkles, elephants can get pretty dirty. They often splash around in mud baths and enjoy floating around in cool water and, in most elephant sanctuaries, they love nothing more than being scrubbed behind the ears and hosed down

They are huge – This may seem like an obvious one, but many people underestimate the size of elephants. Until you see an elephant up close, it is hard to fathom just how large they are. At around 11ft tall and weighing about 6,000kg, they could easily seem intimidating if it wasn’t for their gentle, friendly nature

Their skin is an inch thick – The skin on their backs is remarkably hairy and coarse, yet behind the ears, it is paper thin and soft. They also do not possess sweat glands, so they keep themselves cool using their trunks, as well as by capturing water in their wrinkles when they bathe, which evaporates over time. Unlike humans, elephants have hair to keep them cool, and these sparse hairs transfer heat away from their bodies, so they do not get too hot beneath the blazing sun

They use their trunks for pretty much everything – Eating, drinking, breathing, and even snorkelling – it’s fascinating to watch an elephant use its trunk. Their sense of smell is estimated to be four times as strong as that of a bloodhound and they can sniff out water from around three miles away. From trumpeting appreciation to searching out a single grain of rice on the floor, picking up a heavy log and showing affection for one another, the elephant trunk is easily one of the most versatile features on the planet. They even use it to apply mud as a sunscreen!

Tempted by a holiday to see elephants in the wild? Flight Centre offers a trip to an Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, or you could try a tour around Bangkok, Phuket and Ko Phi Phi. For further information visit www.flightcentre.co.uk or call 0800 856 1464

The Flight Centre Travel Group is one of the world’s largest travel companies. The team can organise anything from flights to holidays, hotels, car hire, tours, travel insurance, visas and more. They also have dedicated First and Business Class flight teams and Business Travel teams to help with any specialised travel needs.

About The Author

Mike Cowton

Michael Cowton, an outdoors writer, editor and photographer with a passion for nature-based travel and wildlife. He is a former editor of EcoTravel, Outdoor Pursuits, Camping, Lakeland Walker and Which Motorcaravan magazines, and national newspaper journalist.

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