Animal Poachery

Butterfly Elephant Oyster

Ξ Poem Elephant Notes Song ♫
© 1986..2009 by Andreas Wittenstein. Some rights reserved. (CC)

blowshorn: The elephant's trunk functions as a horn for directing its angry trumpeting calls and other vocalizations.

drones: The elephant's most common call is a steady rumble at an ultralow pitch, often two octaves below the limit of human hearing.

eloquent: Elephant speech is highly expressive, comprising perhaps a hundred different types of calls to communicate all the feelings and thoughts that arise in their complex societies.

mellifluent: The elephant's voice is very rich in sound, its pitch ranging over more than ten octaves, and its timbre shaped not just by the larynx and mouth organs as in humans, but also by its versatile trunk, its pharyngeal pouch, and its highly mobile ears.

bellow-phone moans: Elephants can communicate over long distances (nearly ten kilometers) by bellowing so loudly it would hurt our ears if we could hear it. Other elephants pick up these infrasonic moans both through the air, with their ears, collecting the sound from a particular direction with their enormous ear flaps; and through the ground, picking up the sound through their sensitive palms and toenails and by touching the ground with the tips of their trunks.

grows: The trunk of a newborn elephant is proportionately short, but grows out within a few days.

tail-in-front: An elephant's trunk serves some of the same handy purposes as the tails of other mammals, such as swatting and shooing flies (often with the help of a frond), signalling moods, grasping branches, balancing, and embracing.

smell: An elephant's trunk contains two nostrils, with a highly developed sense of smell.

rose: The rose family, native only to the northern hemisphere, does not extend into the African elephant's range.

whifflingly elevant nose: The flexible length of the elephant's trunk permits it to breathe and smell at a distance

roams his ill-defined roads: In the jungle, the trails blazed by elephants often form the only roads navigable by many lesser animals, such as humans. Elephant herds tend to follow the same basic yearly migration routes, with the exact paths changing with the inconstant landscape of the jungle. African bull elephants, in contrast, spend much of their lives wandering off the path.

stows: An elephant can stow up to 8 liters of water in its trunk, which it can later drink by squirting it into its mouth, or transfer it to the pharyngeal pouch in its throat to free up its trunk for other purposes. While this quantity is quite plentiful to a human, for an adult elephant consuming up to 200 liters per day, it is but a small dose.

strolls: No matter how fast it moves, the elephant always uses the same strolling ‘elephant walk’ gait, in which it moves first both feet on one side, then both feet on the other side, with a characteristic side-to-side roll of its ponderous body to keep its center of gravity over its grounded feet.

well-fountain holes: In dry seasons, elephants dig wells to get down to the water table. They return to these holes year after year, raising the watertable by compressing the earth with their elephantine weight, enlarging the wells' watersheds by carrying out mud from mudbaths on their backs, and creating catchment channels with their trails.

swelling sump-hose: The elephant can suck water up into its trunk.

floods: The elephant can squirt a trunkful of water in any direction like a high-pressure hose, and elephants often engage in water-play, squirting each other with glee.

clothes: In India, elephants are greatly revered, and ceremonial elephants are dressed in splendid clothes decked with gold and jewels.

revellent: The joyfulness of elephant's waterplay is great fun to watch.

probestilled: Elephants use their tusks to plow and root the earth for food, minerals, and water.

earthnut: Although peanuts, native to Africa, are a favorite food for humans to feed elephants in the zoo, they are not a favorite food of elephants. Nevertheless, elephants often raid peanut fields and other food crops in areas where farmers encroach on their territory.

eleventh toes: The African savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana) has two dextrous finger-like appendages at the tip of its trunk; the Indian elephant (Elephas maximus) has one.

manifold roles The elephant's trunk is so versatile that it provided enough material for this entire poem, in spite of the many other outstanding features of the elephant, thus bringing to mind the Hindu fable of a group of blind men, each trying to discern the nature of an elephant by feeling a different part.

ell: (45 inches) An adult elephant's trunk is typically about two ells long, which is over two meters.

For more information on elephants, see the Wikipedia Elephant article.

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