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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Elephant Farm!

It's important to me that my son see his parent's "together" especially when we are actually getting along.   Ryder always has a good time & I don't want Jake missing out on these memories, & it's hard to go & do alone a lot of times (even though I conquer it just about every other day!)  :P  We had planned on going to the Pumpkin Patch today, but plans changed & we went to the Elephant farm instead!  I didn't even know it existed until last night!  It's no less than 20 minutes away.  I call it a farm...but I don't know what it's really call!
The weather was great, & I actually probably over dressed myself & Ryder in too hot of clothing!  This place has 7 elephants, both African & Asian.  There were only 5 out today, because 2 of them "weren't behaving".  Behind us in the below picture, is a mommy & a baby.  The baby was born in Dec. & was carried (as all baby elephants are) for TWENTY TWO MONTHS.  O.M.G.  Is all I can say to that!  Almost TWO YEARS!!  Shortly after getting pregnant, the mommy's "mate" died.
I learned that elephants usually die of starvation.  They only have 4 teeth at a time...molars.  One in each side, top & bottom.  They have six "sets" of these that grow back in when one falls out. Once that final & sixth set falls out, they quit eating because they don't have anything to chew with, & they eventually starve, & die.  Sad, I know...They said they would probably live till they were 100 if their teeth didn't fall out.
Another interesting fact...if girl elephants aren't bred before the age of 25, they won't be able to breed at all.  But if they are bred by 25, they are able to make & have babies up until the day they die.  If an older one gets pregnant, she is more likely to die giving birth, because her body has never been through that before & doesn't know how to handle it.  So...the earlier, the better!  
This is Hank.  He is the most "active" breeder in the United States.  Only 70 elephants have ever been born in North America, & 4 of them have been born on this farm!  He is an Asian elephant...his ears are smaller than the African ones.  Also...African elephants, both males (bulls) & females (cows) have tusks, & in Asian elephants, only the males do!
There are 2 females Asian elephants that live there that were circus performers before "retiring" here.  One performed on the east coast, & one on the west.  25 years ago, they happen to perform in ONE show together.  When the 2nd elephant was brought to the farm, they started loving on each other, & elephant "hugging" & "kissing" each other, & acting like they were catching up with an old friend!  It took the handlers a while to figure out what was going on...but they actually REMEMBERED each other & were just SO excited to see each other again.  HOW SWEET RIGHT?
It costs $10,000 to feed ONE elephant for a year.  This place is a non-profit organization & is only open to the public the FIRST Saturday of every month.  Their goal is to just keep the species growing!
Mommy & baby playing together!  The baby rolled around a tire, sat on it, and then laid down on top of it!  It was adorable.  Baby elephants "nurse" up to five years.  When the begin eating solids, they eat straight from their mom's mouth.  That way, they can figure out what they do & don't like, & will later learn to pick it up from the ground themselves.  

Hope you enjoyed learning about elephants as much as we did!

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