Elephants may be big, but they are known as gentle giants. These affectionate yet intelligent creatures can be incredible. But what about their cute babies?
A baby elephant is known as a “calf”. They are usually born at 250 pounds and they stand about three feet tall. A mother elephant will carry their baby for 18 to 22 months. What a long time to be pregnant! Did you know that 99% of calves are born at night?
Baby elephants are born with red or black curly hair on their body which reduces over time as they get older. These small hairs are used to help cool down their bodies. Elephant calves can’t see well when they are first born, but they can recognize their mothers by using their senses to help them out. Elephant calves are born into a matriarchal herd, meaning they are surrounded by their mother, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and other female relatives. They grow up in a very nurturing and caring environment. Mother elephants are known to be very protective over their dependable baby, as they will stop at nothing to make sure their baby is protected from harm.
The calves will drink around three gallons of milk a day from their mother. Around four months old, calves will begin to eat plants, but they still depend on their mother for milk. Some calves will even drink their mother’s milk for up to 10 years. Talk about a long time!
At first, calves have trouble using their trunks. They have to learn like any other animal. They will usually throw their trunk around and they might even accidentally step on it, ow! Some calves will suck on their trunk like a human baby sucks on their thumb. Once the calf is around six to eight months old, he or she will have much more control over their trunk. They will start using their trunk to bathe, eat, drink and to grasp items like adult elephants do.
Once this cute baby elephant grows up into an adult elephant, they are ready to be on their own. Males will leave their family and herd by age 12 to 14, while female elephants will stay with their family for life.
Check out these pictures of some cute baby elephant calves that will just melt your heart!