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Elephant social behavior

 

Elephants live in a very structured social order and they live in herd. The females stay in family groups, which are led by the eldest female, or matriarch. Adult males, on the other hand, live mostly solitary lives.

Most family groups have from 5 to 15 adults, as well as a number of immature males and females.

Only the most dominant males will be permitted to breed with cycling females. The less dominant must wait their turn.

 

Trunk

It plays a key role in social interactions. Familiar elephants will greet each other with their trunks, like a handshake. They also use them for dominance displays - a raised trunk can be a warning or threat, while a lowered trunk can be a sign of submission.

 

Communication

Elephants communicate by producing and receiving low-frequency sound (infrasound).

 

Reproduction

Females reach sexual maturity at around 9 - 12 years and become pregnant for the first time, on average, around age 13. They can reproduce until ages 55 - 60. Females give birth at intervals of about 5 years.

Their pregnancy period lasts about 22 months. At birth, calves weigh around 90115 kg and they gain 1 kg a day. When born, a calf is about 90 cm high, and consumes up to 11 litres of milk in a single day.

Babies learn mainly by observing adults, not from instinct. For example, a newborn learns how to use its trunk by watching older elephants using their trunks.


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