Baby elephant pictures are a joy to take on safari. They are exceptionally cute and their interaction with the rest of the herd is very interesting to observe.
If you are on a walking safari your opportunities to take photos of them will be less because the rangers will give herds that have young a wide berth due to the fact that they tend to be a lot more aggressive and protective at such times.
Even in a safari vehicle you need to be careful because a four or five ton elephant will cause a lot of damage if they feel their calf is being threatened. Flapping ears and trumpeting from the adults is a signal that you are a little too close for comfort.
Female elephants only give birth every five years or so and they carry the calf for about 22 months (635 - 655 days) which makes it the longest gestation period for any mammal.
The calf weighs between 200 - 250 pounds at birth and it grows at the astonishing rate of about 2 pounds every day which is not really that surprising considering how much catching up he has to do to become full grown.
They can stand within an hour of birth and within a few days are strong enough to be able to follow the herd.
They drink milk from their mother using their mouths (the trunk is not developed enough yet) and can consume up to 3 gallons in a day.
It takes months for the calf to learn how to use its trunk effectively, and it learns by observing the adults rather than by instinct.
They are weaned at the age of about three or four years depending on the birth of a brother or sister. The whole herd takes part in the raising and nurturing of the young and aunts provide very a effective protection and babysitting function.
If you spot a calf on safari and it is still small enough to fit underneath its mothers belly you are lucky enough to be seeing a baby elephant that is less than one year old.
More cute baby animal pictures ...