The Age of Elephants

 

 

The Baby Trunk

When a baby elephant is born it is unable to control the use of its trunk, much like human babies have flailing arms and legs.

 

Both, humans and elephants, are able to master the use of their limbs when they are each about one year old.

So if you see a baby elephant with a trunk that it appears to have control over then you can make an educated guess that the baby is at least one year old.

 

 

Elephant Height

The height of an elephant is an indication of its age. Once the size of a baby elephant reaches the bottom of its mother's belly that is one way to tell the baby is approximately one year old. 

Did you know ...

Elephants have babies on average every four to six years and their gestation period is the longest of any mammal in the animal kingdom at two years!

 

 

Elephant Suckling

Elephants wean from their mother's milk at around four to six years old. When viewing a large baby that is still suckling from its mother then one could venture to guess it is under the age of six.

Baby elephants begin eating hard food at around six months to one year old (similar to a human baby) however, they aren't fully weaned off milk until they are much older.

Did you know ...

Cow's milk is deadly for an elephant. The fat content is impossible for a baby elephant to digest.

Picture by Sola Gratia

 

 

Elephant Teeth

Elephants have six sets of teeth and this is one way scientists use to identify their age.

Elephant teeth are unique in that they rotate forward (think of a conveyor belt) from the back to the front where each molar eventually wears down and falls off.

Guess what age their last set of teeth comes in?

Their last set of teeth comes in at approximately age 40, which is one of the ways we know they live to the age of 70 or so ... just like us.