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Mama Elephants Lend a Helping Hand to Stranded Calf

posted: 12/01/15
by: Danny Clemens

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and the elephant community is no different. When a small calf gets unexpectedly stuck in a deep watering hole, older members of the herd step in to lend a helping trunk, gracefully swooping their tiny friend out of the hole:

 

Beyond serving as an emergency rescue apparatus, an elephant's trunk serves as an important tool that gives the gentle giant much added dexterity.

While humans bodies are comprised of fewer than 800 muscles, an elephant's trunk alone contains over 100,000 individual muscles. An average adult elephant can hoist a 600-pound load in its trunk, although some exceptionally strong elephants can lift more than 1,000 pounds.

Related: Curious Elephant Snorts Video Camera

Thanks to its long trunk, the modern elephant is the only extant mammal that can "snorkel" beneath the surface of the water. While the creatures can snort and blow water through their trunks, they cannot drink through them.

Elephant trunks are also equipped with "fingerlike projections" that aid in pinching and gripping. While African elephants have two "fingers" that can grip small objects, Asian elephants only have one finger. Instead of pinching, they must wrap the tip of their trunk around small items.

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