Why are baby ellies so clumsy?

Posted by Anita Froneman on 27 February 2020

Elephant calves are notoriously clumsy, and adorably so. But have you ever wondered why?

When calves are born, they can weigh up to 100 kg and stand under a metre tall. Elephant calves are precocial, meaning they attempt to stand right after birth. Within an hour a calf will usually be able to stand.

What makes them a little unstable is the fact that their eyesight is not the sharpest and so their depth perception, coordination and balance is a little off for the first few days of life.

They can, however, recognize their mother’s by touch, scent, and sound and try to keep close to them. Elephants suckle from their mothers using their mouth and not their trunk.

Within two days after birth, calves are strong enough to start walking and join the herd. The herd will adjust their pace so the calves can keep up. During the early months, calves will start experimenting with their developing trunks by picking plants to supplement their mother’s milk.

Watch how clumsy these baby ellies are:

This one is curious:


This one is very, very sleepy!


Also read: Rare twin elephant calves born in Addo 

For your next elephant-watching adventure in Addo Elephant National Park, view these places to stay on Afristay. 

Image: Unsplash

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