Monday, 2 May 2016

Pachyderms revisited

Gawd, the news is pretty dismal at the moment. Time to escape into the land of the pachyderm for some solace. First a jolly tune by Henry Mancini - Baby Elephant Walk. Even if you don't recognise the name, you'll probably recognise the melody.

And now an elephant joke.
What do you get if you cross a parrot with an elephant? 
An animal that tells you everything that it remembers.
Here's a few pieces of elephant trivia to ponder upon.
* A group of elephants can be called a 'memory of elephants', although a herd is a more common collective noun. On a related theme, elephants follow cattle in that the females, males and offspring are called, cows, bulls and calves respectively.
* The elephant's memory is legendary, what is not so well known is that they have a special ceremony for greeting a long lost member of the herd. In this greeting ceremony both elephants flap their ears, trumpet and generally express joy. 
* It would be easy to be fooled into thinking that elephants drank through their trunks; in fact they use the trunk as a funnel to collect water, but then pour it into their mouth. Incidentally, there are no bones in an elephant's trunk.
* An elephant detective could track an elephant by following their footprints.  Such stalking is made easier by the elephant's habit of using the same paths as their ancestors.
* Elephants display 'right-handedness', not in their limbs, but in their tusks.  Close examination of these will reveal that one tusk has a blunter tip and is thicker than its less favored counterpart. The reason for this difference is that in their natural habitat elephants use their tusk(s) for gathering food, and digging for water. Consequently the tusk on their favoured side becomes more developed but blunter.
* Elephant's ivory is a wonderful and versatile material, but the fact that tusks are so valuable encourages poaching. It seems particularly obscene to think of such a noble, sensitive, joyous animal suffering at the hands of barbaric poachers. Don't buy anything made of ivory.
* The gestation period of mammals is in proportion to their size. Thus, pregnancy in mice lasts about 21 days, whereas in elephants it takes over 21 months.
* March 13th is National Thai Elephant Day, while September 22nd is Elephant Appreciation Day.

Finally, a couple of cartoons. Google 'elephant cartoons' and you'll come across lots.

No comments: