Being big can be very beneficial when living in the wild. If you are large enough, then few predators will be able to overpower you, making you relatively safe. Throughout the animal kingdom are examples of where evolution has turned to size and strength to provide protection, resulting in some truly gigantic species. One of the finest examples of this is the mighty elephant. By far the largest land animal on Planet Earth, elephants are just too big for predators to take on. While their young may be vulnerable, they are protected by the adults in the herd. Adult elephants are not only powerful, but can be very aggressive if threatened, meaning it’s best to keep well clear.
Elephants are also very intelligent creatures and live in complex social groups. In tight-knit communities, a herd will often contain several generations with the females being in charge. They appear to mourn their dead and show other behavior that indicates strong cognitive abilities. Unfortunately, excessive hunting means that we are at risk of losing them altogether.
These impressive beasts have long fascinated mankind and have been the subject of many studies. We have learned a great deal about them, including many interesting facts.
Elephant Fact #1: Biggest Land Animal
Elephants are very large animals indeed and that should not come as a surprise to anybody. In fact, they are the largest land animal on earth today. African bush elephants reach about four meters in height at the shoulder and can weigh around 6,350 kg. Asian elephants are smaller than their African cousins, but still reach around three meters at the shoulder and weigh around 4,990 kg. The next largest land animal on earth is the rhino, which is considerably lighter at around 2,200kg.
The elephant is not the largest animal on the planet though. Some animals such as whales are larger, but they live in the ocean. Elephants are not even the largest land animal ever to have lived on earth either. Many dinosaurs were considerably larger than the modern elephant, especially the giant herbivores. For some of the larger carnivorous dinosaurs such a T-Rex, the elephant would have made a good meal.