Baby elephants are, by far, my weak spot in the whole world of animals. They can elicit an, “aww” and a cheesy grin from me every single time. I think it’s something about the way they move and play. Also, how they so wonderingly react to things. It warms me to the soul.
Female elephants usually start having babies when they’re around 12-15 years old. This is also when they reach maturity. Elephant moms carry their babies longer than any other mammal, with a gestation period of around 22 months. That’s almost two years of pregnancy! A long developmental period, such as this, is common when the animal developing is highly intelligent. Elephants are the largest, living, land animals and they have the biggest brains.
Elephants have very ritualistic ways of doing things that involve the whole family. One example is the way they welcome their young into the world. When a mama is getting close to birthing, the whole family gathers around and forms a circle of protection until the baby is born. Then, they all lend a ‘hand’ in helping this newborn stand up for the first time.
When an elephant is born, it will weigh around 220 pounds. These newborn babies are called calves. They’ll follow pretty close to mama for first couple of months before they get too adventurous. Baby elephants will drink moms milk for two years or longer, consuming up to three gallons a day. At about four months they’ll start eating plants as well.
I’m sure you’ve seen many examples of the clumsy little elephant. This is usually because they have absolutely no idea what to do with the big long tube hanging off of their face. They’re constantly swinging them around and tripping over their own trunks. Baby elephants will even suck on their trunks like our human babies sometimes do.
The whole family works together to help raise the calves. It’s a time full of trunk hugs and love that the baby will continue and take with them into adulthood. I truly love the strong bonds that elephants form as family.