Such a Tiny Elephant
Friday evening we watched as a breeding herd of African elephants visited at Nkorho Pan. That's not so unusual, we often see them near the waterhole. This time in amongst the large pachyderms was a little one, not very old, as he could still fit under his mothers belly. At one point he took his tiny trunk and wrapped it around his mothers tusk. We watched and smiled at the baby elephant. He looks so small...but how big is he anyway you ask? Well I'm glad you asked:
New-born elephants are born weighing in at 77-120 kg (he can weigh over 200lbs!) But they weigh only 4% of an adult female's weight and only 2% of an adult male's.
Other elephant calf facts of interest: An infant elephants brain is 30-40% the size it will be when he is fully grown.
The elephant infant can consume 11.4 litres of milk a day. That's a lot of milk! Within the first three months of birth, a young calf's food intake is typically provided solely by the mother. The elephant calf is entirely dependent (emotionally and physically) on his mother for three to five years.
After two years of age, the emphasis turns toward independent feeding despite the fact that the mother's milk continues to be an important part of a calves diet.
Much like humans, the surrounding habitat, size of the family, interactions and events all help to shape the way the calf will be when he grows up. Elephants rely less on instinctual behaviors and more on learned behaviors, joining such species as the great apes and humans.
While the herd kept the baby tucked in close, if you look closely at the pictures you can tell how tiny he is in comparison to his family members.
Here's the video if you missed the little one as he walked by: