Yes, elephants are indeed mammals, in fact they’re the largest land mammals on the planet. Elephants can grow to be over 3 meters tall, making them not only the largest mammal on land, but the largest animal on land.
How can you tell an elephant is a mammal?
There are three key things that help us identify mammals, firstly they produce milk and feed their young by suckling. Secondly all mammals have some kind of fur or body hair (even though you can’t see much of an elephant’s fur, they do have some!). Finally all mammals, unlike reptiles or amphibians, are warm blooded. This means they don’t have to rely on external sources of heat to keep them warm. Their bodies produce heat from the inside and this is one of the reasons mammals in colder climates need thing fur, to keep the heat in!
Where do mammals live?
Mammals live all over the earth, including in the ocean as well as on land. Whilst the elephant is the largest animal to be found on land, it is the whale (also a mammal) that is the largest creature in the world.
Mammals are very varied, some are huge like elephants and others are much smaller like mice or cats. Some live on land, or swim in the sea and others even fly like bats!
There are three kinds of mammals
Most mammals are recognisable by the fact that they give birth to live young, already at a certain level of maturity, these mammals are called placental mammals. The elephant is a placental mammal and their young weigh up to 200 lbs when born (over twenty times what a human baby weighs).
Other mammals, like the famous kangaroo or koala, are known as marsupials and they’re special because they carry their young in a pouch.
Finally there are a small number of mammals who contrary to popular belief lay eggs, these special mammals are called monotremes.
Mammals have big brains
Mammals are some of the smartest creatures in the animal kingdom and the elephant is no exception. Elephants are highly sociable creatures (a sign of intelligence) and have displayed many complex behaviours in the wild including advanced memory, language skills and empathy.