Baby elephants stay very close to their mothers for the first couple of months. They drink their mother's milk for about 2 years, sometimes longer. They drink up to 3 gallons of milk a day. At about four months old, they also begin eating some plants, but still need as much milk from their mother. They continue drinking milk for up to ten years.
At first, baby elephants don't really know what to do with their trunks. They swing them to and fro and sometimes even step on them. They will suck their trunk just as a baby would suck its thumb. By about 6 to 8 months, they begin learning to use their trunk to eat and drink. By they time they are a year old, they can control their trunks pretty well.
Female elephants stay with the herd for life, while males leave the herd at about 12 to 14 years of age.
- Gestation period: 18 - 22 months
- Birth weight about 250 pounds
- Height about 3 feet tall
- About 99% of calves are born at night
- Calves are born with curly black or red hair on their foreheads
- Calves drink about 3 gallons of milk a day