Elephants are majestic creatures of the wild. As giant as these creatures may seem, their babies are adorable. Baby elephants are playful and enjoy socialization, which is why people love spending time with them in zoos and safaris.
A baby elephant is called a calf. They are born after a gestation period of 18 to 22 months. In most cases, only one elephant is delivered at a time. At birth, baby elephants weigh between 200 to 300 pounds and are around 3 feet tall. Surprisingly, these wild babies are born blind but have fully-developed brains.
There’s so much to learn about these beautiful mammals. This article celebrates baby elephants by highlighting the most incredible facts about them.
- 1. A Baby Elephant Is Called a “Calf”
- 2. One Calf Is Usually Born at a Time
- 3. Calves Are the Largest Baby Animals
- 4. Baby Elephants Are Dependent On Their Mothers
- 5. Most Babies Are Born At Night
- 6. Elephant Babies Are Blind at Birth
- 7. Newborn Brains Are Almost Fully-Developed
- 8. Baby Elephants Lose Their Tusks
- 9. Calves Can’t Instinctively Use Their Trunks
- 10. Baby Elephants Drink Almost 3 Gallons of Milk per Day
- Final Thoughts on Baby Elephant
1. A Baby Elephant Is Called a “Calf”
Like many other animal species, a baby elephant is known as a calf. Groups of elephant babies are called calves.
This name is famous for many animal babies, including baby cows, whales, giraffes, moose, reindeer, yak, etc.
Once they reach a young age, elephant babies outgrow this name. Their new name depends on their gender. Male elephants are known as bulls, while females are called cows.
2. One Calf Is Usually Born at a Time
Usually, one elephant calf is born at a time, but there have been twin births. This rare occurrence is under research.
However, the mother elephant’s stress levels and diet were considered contributory factors.
Some people also believe that numerous births are because the mother wants one of her babies to survive, if not more.
3. Calves Are the Largest Baby Animals
Since elephants are the largest animals living on the land, it is no surprise that their babies are born with a pretty good weight.
A newly born elephant weighs between 200 and 300 pounds and can stand almost 3 feet tall.
Within minutes of birth, elephant calves can stand with the assistance of others in the pack.
Research says that baby elephants gain around 2 pounds each day till they are fully grown.
When fully grown, they weigh as much as 13,000 pounds. Now that’s huge.
4. Baby Elephants Are Dependent On Their Mothers
From their birth, baby elephants heavily rely on their mothers for everything. In the first few years of a calf’s life, baby elephants will drink the mother’s milk.
They will stick with their mothers for the first 2 to 3 months of life and learn to control their trunks.
Mother elephants teach everything to their young, from searching for food, walking, and navigating on land to defending themselves against danger.
Afterward, cows may stay with the herd forever, but bulls will leave after 7-8 years.
5. Most Babies Are Born At Night
Surprisingly, almost 99% of elephant babies are born in the evening or at night.
Labor for elephants lasts some days. Research says that elephants prefer giving birth at night to get a calm environment for the delivery and to protect their young from predators.
Elephants may even deliberately disrupt their labor when daylight is around.
6. Elephant Babies Are Blind at Birth
Even after two years of development in the mother’s safe womb, baby elephants are blind at birth.
Being born blind, these little ones have a feeble vision in their early years.
So, they rely on their mother’s guidance and trunks to navigate and search the world around them. Even as adults, elephants don’t have powerful eyesight.
7. Newborn Brains Are Almost Fully-Developed
While they don’t have eyesight at birth, it’s surprising that elephant babies have almost fully-developed brains when they are born.
After two years in the womb, baby elephants come into the world with very well-developed brains.
Unlike other animal babies, baby elephants start walking immediately after being born. However, they are still a bit wobbly.
With their highly developed brain, they can recognize the herd’s social structure and feed themselves with their trunks.
8. Baby Elephants Lose Their Tusks
Much like human babies lose milk teeth, elephant babies lose their tusks as they grow.
These little ones lose their initial tusks after almost a year.
Once they are two years old, their adult tusks start to grow. These tusks keep growing till elephants are fully grown
9. Calves Can’t Instinctively Use Their Trunks
It may surprise you that elephant babies don’t know how to use their trunks at birth!
They don’t have enough trunk muscle when they are born. So they cannot control their trunks early on.
With a lot of practice and over time, these little ones learn to develop agility and strength.
10. Baby Elephants Drink Almost 3 Gallons of Milk per Day
Baby elephants can drink as much as 3 gallons of their mother’s milk daily.
Calves will take on their mother’s milk for almost two years, sometimes even longer.
When they turn four months old, the little ones begin eating plants but still need the same amount of milk.
Sometimes, elephants may feed their babies for as many as ten years.
Final Thoughts on Baby Elephant
Elephant babies are adorable not-so-little creatures. They are intelligent, playful, and love company. Above, we’ve covered some less-known facts about them. Did you know any of them?
Baby elephants have made their place in the hearts of many with their cuteness. Did they manage to earn a place in yours?
What Do Elephant Babies Eat?
For their first year, baby elephants usually feed on their mother’s breast milk. Once they grow older, they begin to eat a diet consisting of shrubs, bamboo, herbs, roots, and fruits. Elephants are herbivores, so their diet consists of no meat.
Where Do Elephant Babies Live?
Elephant babies live with their parents in grasslands or savannas. You can also find them in swampy terrains, wooded areas, and other places. Yet, baby elephants live primarily in warm weather with a plentiful supply of grass, berries, and foliage.
Can Elephant Babies Jump?
Elephant babies cannot jump, but that’s not because of their weight. These giant animals must keep one foot on the ground when running to stay stable.