In terms of size, elephants are the biggest land mammals in the animal kingdom, but did you know they also have the biggest heart and emotions!
We don’t mean it literally of course – the title for the biggest physical heart of a mammal still belongs to the Blue Whale. We say that Elephants have a big heart because they really are capable of expressing emotions. There are also studies that show the Elephant’s range of emotions, which includes joy, love, grief, rage and compassion.
Joy is a positive emotion that Elephants often express by bellowing and blaring in the wild. This is often expressed when they get together with friends and families, playing games and greeting each other. However, they display the highest form of happiness and joy when they welcome the birth of a newborn baby Elephant!
The most prolific display of Elephant love and affection is between the Elephant mother and their calf. Anyone who has seen an Elephant with its calf can instantly recognize their love and protective affection for their babies. If the calf strays too far, the mother Elephant will come and fetch them. She also bathes and protects the calf from the elements by tucking her under her shadow. Whenever a calf squeals in distress, the mother instantly responds by rushing to their aid. It is truly heartwarming.
Elephants have been observed to understand the concept of death. When an Elephant encounters the remains of a deceased member of their pack, they stop and touch the bones of the remains – seemingly a display of grief. They’ve also been observed to cover the remains of another Elephant with branches, bushes and other debris to cover them up.
Elephants also experience stress and anger; especially when they feel that their calves are in danger. The effort and energy that adult Elephants display to protect their younger ones is incredible. They wouldn’t hesitate to charge at huts and villages if they feel those people are the ones who threatened their young calves – especially considering they have excellent memories.
Last but not least, is the incredible display of compassion that Elephants have been observed to show. There have been reports from park wardens that an Elephant pack walks lower if a member has been injured, and protects that injured member as they travel. Another more prolific display of compassion is when Elephants seemingly go out of their way to protect from danger, animals who are not their own. That is a true sign of compassion!
Aren’t they amazing animals! Elephants have such deep emotions and connection to their packs, that we can’t help but care deeply about them.