A-z - Animals

What a baby elephant is called and 9 more amazing facts!

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Baby elephants may grow to be one of the largest land animals in the world, but they're only around 200 to 300 pounds at birth. Did you know that a baby elephant is called a calf? Or do elephants lose their tusks the same way human babies lose their first set of milk teeth?

Read on for 10 baby elephant facts and pictures to find out how amazing this giant mammal is.

#10: Baby Elephants Can’t Jump

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A baby elephant is exploring the savannah.

© iStock.com/slowmotiongli

Elephants are the largest animals in the world and cannot jump. We know what you're thinking: it's probably because of their size, right? However, this may not be true. In fact, scientists don't know why elephants can't jump because not enough research has been done to determine the correct answer.

In addition to being unable to jump, a baby elephant cannot lift all four feet off the ground at the same time. When they run, they always have at least one foot planted on the ground. This is thought to promote animal stability.

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#9: Newborn Elephants Soothe Themselves By Sucking Their Trunks

Baby Elephant - Elephant Calf Rest
A baby elephant sucks its own trunk for comfort.

© iStock.com/purea

We all know that human babies suck their thumbs for comfort. Did you know that baby elephants do the same thing with their trunks? These little giants aren't just doing it to appease themselves, though. It also helps them strengthen their trunk muscles and gain better control over their appendages.

#8: Baby elephants are called calves and weigh around 200 pounds at birth!

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A baby elephant follows its mother across the savannah.

©iStock.com/AndreAnita

Baby elephants are called calves. Groups of baby elephants are called calves. Baby elephants are far from the only species we call calves. For example, a cow's baby is called a calf. Also, other large animals like rhinos and whales have small calves!

A newborn elephant typically weighs between 200 and 300 pounds and stands about 3 feet tall! As they grow, they gain weight rapidly and can eventually weigh up to 15,000 pounds when fully grown. On average, baby elephants gain two pounds a day until they are fully grown, scientists say. Now it's a big baby!

#7: Elephants Take Nearly Two Years to Have a Baby

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The baby elephants are protected by their families.

©iStock.com/TeamDAF

Did you know that an adult elephant is pregnant for 22 months before giving birth to a newborn elephant? This is real! This gestation period makes elephants the longest pregnant mammals on Earth. Elephants conceive so long partly because their babies are big—it takes longer to develop a 200-pound newborn!

#6: Baby elephants have to learn how to use their trunks

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Elephants learn how to use their trunks by wiggling them back and forth while walking.

©iStock.com/Udo Kieslich

You might be surprised to know that a baby elephant doesn't instinctively know how to use its trunk. When they are born, their trunks lack muscle tone, which makes them difficult to control, so elephants must do a lot of exercises to build their trunk strength and dexterity. Baby elephants strengthen and learn how to use their trunks by playing and bobbing in the water.

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#5: Baby elephants lose their tusks

Baby Elephant - Baby Elephant Walking Through the Savannah
Baby elephants lost their tusks.

© iStock.com/samnooshka

If you've ever visited the Tooth Fairy, you know that it's normal for babies to lose their first set of teeth. A baby elephant sheds its tusks in the same way! About a year later, they lost their first pair of tusks. Their adult tusks start growing when they are two years old and continue to grow until the elephants are fully grown.

#4: Most elephants are born at night

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A baby elephant runs with its mother.

© iStock.com/StuPorts

Shockingly, 99% of elephants are born at night. Scientists believe this is an evolutionary trait that elephants developed to protect their young from predators and create a calm environment. Elephants have even been known to intentionally interfere with childbirth as daylight approaches.

#3: Elephants Are Born Blind

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The baby elephant takes a shower with water.

© iStock.com/jfoltyn

Although elephants are mostly fully developed at birth, their vision is not. Elephants are not known for their sight, even as adults, but as babies, they are nearly blind. Instead of relying on vision, they use their torso and mother's guidance to navigate the world.

#2: Adult elephants cover their calves with sand to protect them from the sun

Baby Elephant - Trunk
Young elephants are covered in sand and mud to protect them from the sun.

© iStock.com/gnomeandi

Elephants thrive in grasslands, savannahs and forest areas, where the weather is often hot and dry. To protect their babies from the sun, adult elephants use their huge trunks to sprinkle sand and mud on their calves, which creates a protective layer over their skin to protect them from the sun.

#1: Newborn elephants have almost fully developed brains

© iStock.com/GroblerduPreez

It's easy to imagine that after nearly 2 years in the womb, there isn't much development to do once a baby elephant is born. Baby elephants are born with fully developed brains, and unlike many other animals, they can walk immediately after birth, although they may be a little wobbly.

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Next:

  • 8 Animals That Could Kill an Elephant
  • The 12 Oldest Elephants Ever Lived
  • Elephant Lifespan: How Long Do Elephants Live?

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Baby Elephant - baby elephant and parents

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What do baby elephants eat?

Most baby elephants drink only their mother's milk for their first year of life. After that, they typically consume a diet consisting of bamboos, shrubs, herbs, fruits and roots. Since elephants are completely herbivorous, they do not eat meat.

Where does the baby elephant live?

Baby elephants typically live in savannahs or grasslands, but can also be found in wooded areas, swampy areas, and many other places. They grow best in warm weather, where there are plenty of foliage, berries, and grasses to eat.

How much does a baby elephant weigh?

A newborn elephant calf can weigh 200 to 300 pounds! This makes them one of the largest land animals on Earth.

What's the baby elephant's name?

A single baby elephant is called a calf. A herd of baby elephants is called a calf. Besides elephants, the newborns of many other animals are also called calves. For example, baby rhinos, whales, and hippos are all called calves.

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