Life Cycles


Trunk Full of Tales


Life Cycles

Did you know...

  • Elephants begin mating at the age of twenty
  • Female elephants have a long post-reproductive phase, similar to human menopause
  • Diseases they suffer from are similar to humans--e.g. they are prone to cardiovascular diseases and arthritis
  • Adult male bulls travel around together in bands. The size these bands generally ranges from two to thirty bulls. The average size of a bull band is between three to five bulls.
  • Elephants can live to be over 70 years

Adult ElephantsSome of the adulthood-cycle experiences of an elephant are very similar to that of a human.  Both will continue to reproduce until mid-life; a cow typically produces a single calf, and will have babies up to around fifty years old. The elephant also experiences post-reproductive symptoms.  In the case of females, they experience a long post-reproductive phase which is similar to human menopause.

The interval between births typically ranges between two and a half to four years. This is primarily Familydue to the elephant´s very long gestation period. It is not hard to understand why a mother and her family become so attached to the baby infant given the 22 months she carries it around. The faithful day is one filled with joy for the whole family. This includes family members crowding around the mother and her new-born greeting him/her with joyous rumbles, heads and ears high, temporal gland secretions streaming down the sides of their faces, and of course urinating. An event that can only be described as true joy and celebration; each elephant shares in the excitement of the new-born that has joined the world.

 Elephant CrossingThe adult elephant also experiences similar adult human illnesses which are attributed to age.  The elephant can suffer from cardiovascular problems, as well as suffering from the age-related arthritis.  Despite these age-related illnesses,  the elephant can live a long natural life if it is not poached or culled. The average life span of an elephant is about 70 years.  During their long lives the female herds will continue to nurture their young, while the male herds roam great distances in search of female herds. They continue to be active reproductively up to approximately fifty years old. Their life span, as described by the section on teeth, is limited to the fact that once their last tooth wears out they will essentially starve to death. It is possible for an elephant to live seventy years or more.

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