Let’s talk about elephants.

You may be wondering why we’re talking about them on an outdoor décor site. I’ll get to that.

First, though, let’s go over a few facts.

The Intelligent Elephant

We all know they’re enormous. Asian elephants can have a shoulder height as high as 10 feet (3 meters) and weigh over 11,000 pounds (5,000 Kg), while African elephants like these are even larger.

African elephants, animals, wildlife

African Elephants (Photo: John Storr)

An adult African bull elephant can have a shoulder height of 11 feet (3.3 meters) and weigh up over 16,000 pounds (7,500 Kg). The one below is drinking in the Kruger National Park in South Africa…

African bull elephant, animals, wildlife, lake

African Bull Elephant (©Depositphotos | Chriskruger)

Even more impressive than their size is their intelligence. The saying, “An elephant never forgets,” is largely true, thanks to their large and developed hippocampus, a brain region responsible for memory and spatial awareness.

It’s no coincidence that Ganesha, a revered Hindu deity of wisdom and intelligence, has the head of an elephant. This sculpture of Ganesha is in Haryana, India.

animal sculpture, animal symbolism, Hindu, India

Sculpture of Ganesha (Image: Koshy Koshy | CC BY 2.0)

Like humans, elephants demonstrate a wide range of emotions from grief and compassion to humor and playfulness. Other than humans, they are the only animals that have death rituals in which they bury and mourn members of their herd or even unknown, lone elephants.

As this video shows, they also possess excellent learning and artistic abilities. In fact, they do a much better job painting than I ever could!

At 9,000 pounds, Shanthi, an Asian elephant at the Smithsonian National Zoo, probably can claim to be the world’s largest harmonica player. If you reach the 2-minute mark of the following video, you’ll hear her play some pretty good music!

And finally, while they’re not going to make this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, here they are in two teams playing a soccer match in Nepal. Final score: 6-0.

An Endangered Animal

Currently both African and Asian elephants are endangered.  African elephants in particular are illegally poached for their tusks, which both females and males have (unlike their Asian counterparts).

If you’re interested in learning about ways to help, check out this article on 6 Ways to Help Elephants.

So now I’ll circle back to a question you may have been asking yourself. Why are we writing about elephants on an outdoor décor site?

That’s a question I won’t forget… but will answer in an upcoming post.