With a long trunk, floppy ears and thick legs, an Indian elephant standing tall is indeed a sight to behold! As told in our first issue Elephant Tales, elephants also happen to be some of the most intelligent animals living today. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! For elephant is one massive creative that is full of surprises. Hard to believe? Well, we at Tiger Comics thought so too, at first. Tell you what, let’s play a little game called ‘Did you know’!
1. TRUNK CALL!
DID YOU KNOW that an elephant’s trunk is a highly sensitive organ with over 100,000 muscle units? They use their trunks to trumpet, grab things, smell, spray water and of course, breathe! One multi-tasking organ!
2. FOOD FOR THOUGHT!
DID YOU KNOW that an average elephant eats about 138 kgs of food each day? Talk about a whopper meal!
3. FOUR THE BEST!
DID YOU KNOW that in ancient India, elephants were divided into four classes based on their body features? In ‘Brihat Samhita’ by Varahamihira, elephants are classified into Bhadra (green-coloured), Manda (yellow-coloured), Mrga (black-coloured) and Sankirna (mixed-coloured).
4. RESERVATION FOR TUSKERS!
DID YOU KNOW that in ancient India, certain forests were earmarked for elephants alone? That’s right! The famed ‘Arthashastra’ of Chanakya mentions the allocation of certain nagavana (forests) for elephants. The celebrated play of Bhasa called ‘Pratijna Yaugandharayana’ refers to one such nagavana and a special species of elephant called Nilakuvalayatanu. Incredible, huh?
5. LONG LIVE THE ‘WILD’!
Elephants are known for their size and resilience, but also for their long lives. In fact, elephants live longer than any other mammal, except for man. The average lifespan of an Indian Elephant is 48 years.
While all these are well-documented, DID YOU KNOW that only wild elephants stand a chance to live their full lives? Why? Because elephants are highly social animals and the stress of confined spaces often results in shortened life spans.
6. WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION (ON BOTH SIDES!)
DID YOU KNOW that elephants played a big role in the army in ancient India? The elephant division was deployed in a battle in a block or a line, as per the overall army formation. It is said that the illustrious Chandragupta Maurya had about 9,000 elephants in his army. The significance of war elephants can be gauged from the fact that the author Banabhatta devotes many pages of his ‘Harshacharita’ to describe the elephants of his master King Harshavardhana.
While war elephants have helped many monarchs in securing victories, there are equal number of instances where they did more harm than good. In the Battle of Hydaspes (326 BCE), King Porus’ elephants went berserk due to the wounds inflicted by the enemy and trampled anyone they could find, which happened to be mostly Porus’ men themselves.
And the surprises don’t end here. Book your copy of Tiger Comics’ first issue Elephant Tales and know more about these truly fascinating creatures. Because, more we know about elephants, more we understand and appreciate them.
Featured Image courtesy: taylorandclaire (Elephant Painting on a building in Udaipur)