Do Baby Elephants Have Tusks?

  • 4 min read
  • Elephants
Do Baby Elephants Have Tusks?

If you have seen a picture of an adult elephant, you might have noticed that they have tusks on the side of their trunks. This may cause you to wonder if baby elephants are born with those tusks or if they grow over time?

Here, we will take a look at some facts about an elephant’s tusks and information on baby elephants. 

Do baby elephants have tusks?

Elephants are not born with tusks, so baby elephants do not have them. When the elephant calf is about a year old, tusks will extend from a socket in the skull and replace the elephant’s milk teeth. This is because tusks are actually teeth! Tusks are the elephant’s upper incisors.  

Do both male and female elephants have tusks? 

It depends on the type of elephant! In Asian elephant populations, only the male elephants have tusks, but in African elephants, both the male and female elephants have tusks. With that being said, tusklessness is an increasingly common condition in elephants due to the illegal poaching of these animals for ivory.

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This is because of evolution. About 2 to 4 percent of African elephants never develop tusks, which increases their chance of survival in the wild.  

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What is the purpose of an elephant’s tusks? 

The tusks of an elephant have a bunch of purposes! Elephants use their tusks to help them dig in the dirt, move objects, gather food, strip the bark off of trees, and as a means of defense. The tusks also protect their trunk. Fun fact: Just like how we are either left or right-handed, elephants are also left and right tusked! Their dominant tusk is usually more worn down because of the more frequent use.  

Why are elephants being killed for their tusks? 

Do Baby Elephants Have Tusks?
Do Baby Elephants Have Tusks?

Tragically, about 20,000 elephants are killed every year by poaching. This is due in part to the high demand for ivory in parts of the world. The ivory from elephant tusks is used to make items such as billiard balls and piano keys. In recent years, more and more elephant sanctuaries have appeared all over the world.

These sanctuaries have been designed specifically to protect elephants from poachers and other human conflicts. There is also an ivory trade ban in place, helping prosecute people who harm these wonderful creatures.  

What is the gestation period for elephants? 

Elephants have the longest gestation period out of any mammal in the world! An elephant is pregnant for about 95 weeks – which is roughly 22 months! That is more than double the length of the average human pregnancy of 9 months.

On average, female elephants will usually have about four elephant calves during their life, but they can have up to 12 babies throughout their life. Elephants usually only have one baby at a time, but about one percent of all elephant pregnancies will produce twins.

When an elephant gives birth, the other elephants in the herd will form a protective circle around the mother and baby elephant.  

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How big are baby elephants? 

African elephants are the largest land animals in the world. On average, male elephants grow to be about 13 feet tall and can weigh up to 15,000 pounds! But how big are baby elephants? Baby African and Asian elephants can be as tall as 3 feet and weigh up to 200 pounds when they are born. 

These baby elephants (who are called calves) rely on their mother for everything. The calf will drink their mother’s milk for the first 5 to 10 years of life. Once they are weaned from her milk, young elephants will start eating solid vegetation like grass.

How big are baby elephants
Baby elephant

When elephants are still calves, their mother will teach them how to use their trunks for feeding, drinking, and bathing and how to avoid danger and survive.  

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Can baby elephants walk right away after birth? 

Elephant calves can stand within minutes of their birth, and then they can walk within 1 to 2 hours of birth! Once the calf is about two days old, the infant is strong enough to join the rest of the herd, who are patiently waiting for them nearby.  

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Adrian Volenik

I've lived around animals my whole life and I hold a Diploma in Animal Physiology. When I'm not reading or writing about wild animals, health and fitness, and technology, you can find me playing with my son and two cats. My pastimes include running, playing video games, and solving the NY Times crossword.

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