Last Updated on January 25, 2022
These big, gentle giants have been around for millions of years (since the time of mammoths), yet they still fascinate us.
Elephants symbolize various things in different cultures around the world. In feng shui for instance, they are recognized as wise, strong, protectors. In Buddhism, white elephants are auspicious. And in Hindu, the goddess Lakshmi is usually depicted with four elephants.
Why elephants are considered wise
Perhaps one of the reasons why elephants have been associated with wisdom is because they have a similar lifespan with humans. The current oldest elephant is named Dakshayani in India at 86 years old. Most of these animals live between 50-70 years old. And age is often linked with wisdom.
Another factor is that these massive mammals are as intelligent as humans. Through numerous studies, scientists have confirmed how elephants displayed human-like capabilities as well as emotions. They can remember watering holes miles away, grieve for their dead, remember voices, recognize gestures, and use tools.
An elephant’s temporal lobe – the part of the brain responsible for memories – is denser and larger than humans. This explains why they can better recall people, places, and events.
There’s a story about two elephants that used to work in a circus. They were separated for 20 years before reuniting in a sanctuary in Tennessee. Even after such an extensive period of time, they bonded quickly, proving that they indeed, recognize one another.
With these traits, they are certainly very wise!
What makes elephants special?
Elephants are the largest animals on land. And while they may look the same, there are in fact, two main species: the Asian elephant and the African elephant. The latter has two sub-species, namely: the savanna and the forest elephant. The African elephants are the biggest, some weighing anywhere from 6 to 8 tonnes.
Don’t be fooled by their size though – these giants can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour! Their massive feet are not just used for walking either. Aside from trumpeting, roaring, or snorting, elephants can sense vibrations through their feet. This is how they usually communicate over long distances with their herd.
Just like humans, these colossal creatures form deep bonds with their family. The herd is lead by a matriarch, normally the oldest in the group. Their young are raised together and the males move out at about 12 years old. When calves throw tantrums or are distressed, the elders take turns soothing the young by caressing or touching it with their trunks.
Contrary to popular belief, elephants are not scared of mice! But they are scared of bees. Mud is their bestfriend though. It acts as bug repellent, moisturizer, and sunscreen for their highly sensitive skin. You’ll never know because of their thick, wrinkly skin, but these massive mammals take care of their health as much as they take care of each other.
Magnificent Elephant Quotes
Big, gentle, and wise, elephants surely are one of nature’s most magnificent creatures. Hopefully, these amazing elephant quotes will move you to find ways to protect them.
- “Th’ unwieldy elephant, to make them mirth, us’d all his might, and wreathed His lithe proboscis.” – John Milton
- “It seems safe to say that apes know about death, such as that is different from life and permanent. The same may apply to a few other animals, such as elephants, which pick up ivory or bones of a dead herd member, holding the pieces in their trunks and passing them around. Some pachyderms return for years to the spot where a relative died, only to touch and inspect the relics. Do they miss each other? Do they recall how he or she was during life?” – Frans de Waal
- “They say an elephant never forgets. What they don’t tell you is, you never forget an elephant.” – Bill Murray
- “Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.” – Pierre Trudeau
- “As he was leaving it occurred to him that he would not come back, to this zoo or to any of them. With the elephants more than any of the others, he thought as he left them ? as he left behind these great beasts who recognized him when he came, who rumbled and swayed sadly ? he could feel them waiting.” – Lydia Millet
- “Love will draw an elephant through a key-hole.” – Samuel Richardson
- “There is no creature among all the Beasts of the world which hath so great and ample demonstration of the power and wisdom of almighty God as the Elephant.” – Edward Topsel
- “Elephants are quite enough.” – Agatha Christie
- “I have spent hours and hours watching elephants, and to come to understand what emotional creatures they are … it’s not just a species facing extinction, it’s massive individual suffering.” – Mike Bond
- “The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?” – David Attenborough
- “The strange rhythm seemed now to be coming from behind me, from the land, so I turned to look across the gorge… where my heart stopped… Standing there in the shade of the tree was an elephant… staring out to sea!… She was standing here on the edge of the ocean because it was the next, nearest, and most powerful source of infrasound.” – Carl Safina
- “Without being an elephant sycophant, it is relevant to note that an infant elephant is a lieutenant giant.” – Vincent Okay Nwachukwu
- “Scientists have reported that elephants grieve their dead, monkeys perceive injustice and cockatoos like to dance to the music of the Backstreet Boys.” – Hal Herzog
- “If there were no goodness in people, mankind would still be confined to loping across a Savannah somewhere on Earth, watching the elephants rule, or some other more compassionate species.” – Orson Scott Card
- “A man might be uncertain about how many wives he had, but never about elephants. Either you had one, or you didn’t.” – Terry Pratchett
- “We must have bearers, and outriders, and perhaps an elephant — they are so imposing, nothing says ‘Get out of the way’ quite like an elephant in the front.” – Neil Gaiman
- “Don’t ask why the elephants wear such large shoes, and why the kangaroos are reborn kidnappers, and why the sailing birds are all Romantics.” – Robert Bly
- “…Elephants have their legs thickened to an extent that seems disproportionate to us, but this is necessary if their unwieldy bulk is to be moved at all … A 60-ft. man would weigh 1000 times as much as a normal man, but his thigh bone would have its area increased by only 100 times … Consequently such an unfortunate monster would break his legs the moment he tried to move.” – John Scott Haldane
- “A camel makes an elephant feel like a jet plane.” – Jackie Kennedy
- “For the herds of wild elephants show no resentment when domesticated animals join them. They have none of that herd instinct directed against the stranger that one finds in cattle, in small boys and among many grown-up men. This tolerance is just one of the things about elephants which makes one realise they are big in more ways than one.” – Col. J. H. Williams O.B.E
- “The elephant can survive only if forests survive.” – Mark Shand
- “I don’t know how many lions and leopards I’ve shot. I’ve shot two elephants, which was enough – never again. It’s a melancholy and moving thing to hunt an elephant. It’s like shooting an old man.” – Wilbur Smith
- “We already live a very long time for mammals, getting three times as many heartbeats as a mouse or elephant. It never seems enough though, does it?” – David Brin
- “I feel as if I go to Africa, I may never come back. I’m just going to live with the animals and adopt an elephant, and it’s going to be my friend.” – Dianna Agron
- “An elephant always puts his foot into the hole which another elephant’s foot has made so that a frequented track is nothing but a series of pits filled with mud and water.” – Isabella Bird
- “Who rides on a tiger can never dismount; asleep on an elephant, that is repose.” – Marianne Moore
- “All around the edges of the platform where she sat, elephants stood patiently waiting for their breakfast. Occasionally, one would grunt or snort or flap its ears, but otherwise, they were as quiet as apparitions.” – Dawn Reno Langley
- “Seriously, a smaller, leaner, cleaner, tuskless and more secretive elephant is exactly what is needed. It definitely would live longer.” – Lyall Watson
- “They say an elephant never forgets. Well, you are not an elephant. Take notes, constantly. Save interesting thoughts, quotations, films, technologies… the medium doesn’t matter, so long as it inspires you.” – Aaron Koblin
- “Wallowing was for elephants, depressing people, and depressing elephants.” – Cassandra Clare
- “But perhaps the most important lesson I learned is that there are no walls between humans and the elephants except those we put up ourselves, and that until we allow not only elephants, but all living creatures their place in the sun, we can never be whole ourselves.” – Lawrence Anthony
- “Elephants love reunions. They recognize one another after years and years of separation and greet each other with wild, boisterous joy. There’s bellowing and trumpeting, ear flapping and rubbing. Trunks entwine.” – Jennifer Richard Jacobson
- “I have a memory like an elephant. I remember every elephant I’ve ever met.” – Herb Caen
- “Primate and elephant and even pig societies show considerable evidence of care for others, parent-child bonding, solidarity in the face of danger, and so on.” – Christopher Hitchens
- “I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent!” – Seuss
- “And the elephant sings deep in the forest-maze; about a star of deathless and painless peace; but no astronomer can find where it is.” – Ted Hughes
- “It is absurd for a man to kill an elephant. It is not brutal, it is not heroic, and certainly it is not easy; it is just one of those preposterous things that men do like putting a dam across a great river, one tenth of whose volume could engulf the whole of mankind without disturbing the domestic life of a single catfish.” – Beryl Markham
- “Elephants don’t know anything about the world of ants; the peaks of mountains are oblivious of what is happening on the plains!” – Mehmet Murat ildan
- “I’m not much for cats. I’m terrified of mice. I’ve worked a lot with elephants, and they are extremely intelligent and sensitive, and thankfully, they seem to like me. You never want to get on the bad side of an elephant. And never trust a chimp.” – Mary Ellen Mark
- “Elephants, it turns out, are surprisingly stealthy. As the sunlight fades, other species declare their presence. Throngs of zebras and wildebeests thunder by in the distance, trailing dust clouds. Cape buffalo snort and raise their horns and position themselves in front of their young. Giraffes stare over treetops, their huge brown eyes blinking, then lope away in seeming slow motion. But not elephants.” – Thomas French
- “Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant ? the only harmless great thing.” – John Donne
- “If elephants didn’t exist, you couldn’t invent one. They belong to a small group of living things so unlikely they challenge credulity and common sense.” – Lyall Watson
- “Of all African animals, the elephant is the most difficult for man to live with, yet its passing ? if this must come ? seems the most tragic of all. I can watch elephants (and elephants alone) for hours at a time, for sooner or later the elephant will do something very strange… There is mystery behind that masked gray visage, and ancient life force, delicate and mighty, awesome and enchanted, commanding the silence ordinarily reserved for mountain peaks, great fires, and the sea.” – Peter Matthiessen
- “Only elephants should own ivory.” – Yao Ming
- “We admire elephants in part because they demonstrate what we consider the finest human traits: empathy, self-awareness, and social intelligence. But the way we treat them puts on display the very worst of human behavior.” – Graydon Carter
- “When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it’s best to let him run.” – Abraham Lincoln
- “God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things.” – Pablo Picasso
- “They say that somewhere in Africa the elephants have a secret grave where they go to lie down, unburden their wrinkled gray bodies, and soar away, light spirits at the end.” – Robert McCammon
- “There is no creature among all the Beasts of the world which hath so great and ample demonstration of the power and wisdom of almighty God as the Elephant.” – Edward Topsell
- “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” – Desmond Tutu