Elephant Myths: Fact or Fiction?

Before arriving at stunning Addo Elephant Park accommodation, guests can update their elephant expertise with the following list of common myths, facts and fallacies:

Myth: Elephants love to snack on peanuts
False: The elephant is the world’s biggest land animal and spends anywhere from 16 to 18 hours a day eating. In comparison, peanuts are just too small to satisfy even an inkling of an elephant’s appetite.

Myth: Elephants never forget 
True: Elephants truly do have extraordinary memories. Elephants learn by copying – a sign of above-average intelligence – and when trained, can respond to over 60 verbal commands. These beautiful beasts have also been known to remember people/trainers after years of absence.

Myth: Elephants drink water through their trunks
False: Visitors staying at Addo accommodation will see elephants using their trunks to drink water, but the water doesn’t go all the way up. Rather, elephants use their trunks to scoop up the water before curling their trunks towards their mouths to drink it. Elephants may drink between 30 and 60 gallons of water a day.

Myth: Elephants are too heavy to swim
False: If you said this to an elephant it would charge you – elephants absolutely love water and can smell it from up to five miles away. Surprisingly, elephants are good swimmers and have been known to use their trunks as snorkels.

Myth: Elephants have incredibly thick skin
True: The term pachyderm – an order of mammals including the elephant and rhino – comes from the Greek word “pachydermose” which translates to “thick-skinned”. Despite its thickness, an elephant’s skin is incredibly sensitive; so sensitive that it can sense when a single fly lands on its back.

Myth: Elephants are really social creatures
True: A herd of elephants typically comprises of up to 10 females and their calves (elephant offspring). Once male calves reach adulthood they leave the herd only to return to mate with a female. Elephants within a herd greet their peers by touching each other’s mouths with the tips of their trunks. Trained elephants are notorious for greeting their trainers with trunk hugs and vocalizations.