Consider Yourself Warned – July 2009

Shot of the Month – July 2009

If you peruse my website you may notice that I do not have a large number of photos of elephants.  Its not that I don’t like elephants, it’s just that I seem to have a hard time taking interesting photos of them.  Elephants are large.  And elephants are, well, grey.  My images rarely seem to improve much on those basic facts.

This image is one the rare exceptions.  Here we have a bit of drama.

See those ears that have been flayed forward?  This is a clear warning signal.  He is telling us that he is not happy that we are in his space.  He shook his head and flapped his ears again to make his point.

See that raised right foot?  He is stepping forward, then back in a rocking motion — another signal that he would like us to go away.

We stayed a few minutes as I took some pictures and to allow my friends to see an elephant up close and personal.  The elephant finally started moving in our direction and we had to back up and leave.

Ears out is polite elephant speak.  If he pins them back, that is a signal that he is done with warning, and he is about to charge and you are about to become cartoonishly flat.

 

 

 

 

Elephants are among the most fascinating creatures on the planet.  A few facts you can use at the next dinner party:

  • Elephants are the largest land animal.  Ok,  everyone knew that, but did you know that the largest elephant ever recorded was shot inAngolain 1956 and weighed 26,000 pounds and stood 14 feet at the shoulder?  Elephants typically weigh 7,000 to 13,000 pounds and stand about 3 feet shorter than that Angolan giant.
  • Elephants are right or left-tusked.  Their preferred tusk (the master tusk) will be shorter and more rounded at the end than the other.
  • Elephants are the only mammal that can’t jump.
  • Elephants can’t run either.  They always have at least one foot on the ground.  That being said they can still reach speeds of 25 mph!
  • The elephant’s trunk has over 40,000 muscles.  Yes, read that one again.  With this remarkable tool the massive beast can delicately pick up a single blade of grass.  Or, it can rip off the branch of a tree.

We’ve only scratched the surface.  Elephants have other amazing physical attributes, are incredibly intelligent, and live in very complex social structures.  All to be explored in future shots of the month.

Now I need to get out there and get some photos that do these extraordinary creatures justice.

Until next month…:-)