Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Elephant skin

Elephants are amazing animals and as a tourist guide I used to have so many facts to give the tourists that I could not always get to all of them. For today I will stick to a couple of skin facts.

The thing I find most interesting about elephants' skin is that they don't have sweat glands to keep them cool. That is why they like to swim and throw (not blow, I'll explain at the end of the post) water and mud onto themselves. The other way they keep themselves cool is by flapping their ears. Because the ears are so thin, the arteries are very shallow below the skin and by flapping their ears they cool down the blood which then gets circulated though the body cooling it down by a degree or two.
Although they have tough skins, they are bothered by insects and lice. Ticks and lice live in the wrinkles of their skin and by throwing mud on their backs, it hardens in the sun and kills of the lice. It also protects the elephant from insect bites as well as the harsh sun. And just for interest sake, check out those eye lashes.

PS - Why did I say throw and not blow. Elephants suck water into their trunks to put in their mouths to drink. It then gets thrown and not blown into their mouths as it is impossible for someone or something to blow and swallow at the same time.

10 comments:

  1. Interesting facts about Ellie's skin!! Thanks - never too old to learn!

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  2. I felt my stomach turn when I read about the ticks and lice...ahhhhhhhhh how aweful!!
    I too have never heard this about elephants skins!!
    Thanks *giggle*

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  3. Amazing close up of the skin and those beautiful eyes, I really thought the Elephants skin was so tough nothing "bitey" bothered them, so there you go, I have learned something new today,and the water throwing, fascinating, makes sense when you think about it, it just never dawned on me. Brilliant !!!

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  4. You really are a wealth of information! I love the pic of the elephant's eye, they are such amazing animals.

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  5. i am completelly enthralled. What a wonderful thing it must be to have a close up view of such an amazing mammal!!

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  6. That was interesting! See my elly at Orpen this morning? They really are amazing animals!

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  7. Great story and shots to match. thanks!

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  8. Hello from Brazil! Amazing close up of the skin. Nice blog :)
    Take care,
    Aline
    http://nomundodaaline.blogspot.com

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  9. what an interesting post, i love ellies...and have patted a baby on at mabula lodge near joeys.

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  10. Wonderful close-up of the elephant's eye - and love the interesting facts and figures!

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