Hedgehogs as pets?

Hedgehogs are small spiny mammals that eat insects, frogs, berries, and even worms.

Unlike porcupines, their spines are fixed on their back so when they roll in a ball, they are prickly all over. 

But hedgehogs are easily kept as pets because...


Big Cats hand art...and more!

Here are some animals we've studied...painted on hands!

I have a thing for zebras (since I wrote a book about them), so I like the zebra best.

Which is your favorite?

Can you name the first two big cats?

And for fun, do you think the last picture looks more like a crocodile or an alligator? :)


Anything that's not an elephant, is irrelephant...

So, you ready? It's test time and it will be eeeezeeeeeeee.

Look at and identify each elephant type, then scroll down and check your answers.

Here are the types:

  • African Bush elephant
  • African forest elephant
  • Asian elephant
  • Pygmy elephant

I bet you'll get 'em all right! Scroll down...

I told you it would be easy! Leave a comment to tell me how you did.

Now get out there and do some elephant stalking at your zoo, movie night, or nearest know what to look for!


The Magnificent Seven: giant tuskers!

The largest, longest, heaviest tusks ever recorded are the Kilimanjaro Tusks, pictured above. At over 10 feet in length, the tusks weigh 237 and 225 lbs respectively. 

That's amazing, because...


White elephant...not just a party gift!

They do exist in nature. And so do black and leucistic elephants.  Here are photos of some! 
(See if you can identify the African and Asian elephants.)

Below is a video of an albino baby elephant. You will see its light color and pink eyes toward the end of the video, so feel free to fast forward.  Pretty cute!


The littlest elephant

Known as the Pygmy elephant, this guy lives in the rain forests of Borneo. He has the smaller ears and the convex back of the Asian elephant and was once thought to be just a smaller version of that animal. 

His height?  A full three feet shorter than an average African elephant...about 7 feet tall!

A Pygmy elephant is unusually gentle, but also in danger of extinction.  

Why?  The Borneo forest is being converted to palm oil plantations...and Pygmy elephants love palm oil like kids love candy! So plantation owners destroy the elephants for eating their palm oil.

But one man, Bert Dausip, is trying to save them.  Watch his documentary on how he tracks, observes, and attempts to save the Pygmy elephant in "Borneo's Pygmy Elephant" (link below).


Painting on elephants

Elephants have been painted on for thousands of years.  

In the past, they were painted for war!  But today elephants are painted and decorated for festivals, ceremonies, and just for display.

There is an Elephant Festival in Jaipur, India, which begins with a beautiful procession of bedecked elephants. The owners proudly embellish their elephants with vibrant colors, embroidered saddle cloths, and heavy jewellery. It is quite a treat to see female elephants wearing anklets, which tinkle as they walk.

An award goes to the most beautifully decorated elephant!

Elephant polo, elephant races, and a tug-of-war between an elephant and 19 men are the featured events of the festival.

I think painting on an elephant would be fun and creative...but a lot of work!  What do you think?

The Asian elephant is an endangered animal. 

  For more information, visit: Earth's Endangered


Elephants can't run

Elephants can walk. They can also walk faster. But they can't run or jump, gallop or trot.

But don't get any ideas; an elephant walks faster than you can run!

So it's good to be able to tame an elephant, but the only one that can be tamed is the Asian elephantThis elephant has been used for heavy labor, hunting, war, and transportation. 

Check out the picture at the top. The Asian elephant has a keeper,  or mahout, seated on its neck to control the elephant, while the howdah on its back carries passengers.

Here's how to identify an Asian elephant:

1st IK*:  Small ears; each smaller than the head

2nd IK:  Convex or "rounded" back

Copyright Dr Sihndagi

Stay tuned for the beast that some think should be named the fourth type of elephant... and watch for "the elephant as art"!

*Identification Key, or IKs, are characteristics used to identify an animal. (More about identification keys here.)


Counting elephant toenails

Did you know that counting the number of toenails on an elephant can help identify it? 

That's because the African Forest elephant has more toenails than the Bush elephant! Front foot & back foot toenail count is 5 and 4 compared to Bush's 4 and 3. 

Here are the keys to identifying a Forest elephant:

1st IK*:  Straight downward pinkish tusks; both males and females have them

2nd IK:  Large rounded ears; each as large as the head

3rd IK:  Concave or "sway" back

4th IK: And if you're not running for your life, check out the number of toenails!  :)

Next post, we'll look at the our last of the species, the Asian elephant.

But, shhhhh, there's one more elephant that some scientists think should be the fourth elephant in the family!  

But more about that later...  :)

*Identification Key, or IKs, are characteristics used to identify an animal. (More about identification keys here.)

"Elephant Dance" photo courtesy of Coy Aune at


Of mice and elephants

Elephants are afraid of've heard that before.  It's a cute idea in stories, but not true!

Adult elephants actually fear nothing. No other animal dares bother them...and you can probably guess why:

  • Elephants are the largest land animals
  • They travel in family herds 
  • They are very intelligent
  • And they have tusks!

The largest elephant ever was 13 feet high...that's three feet higher than the average ceiling! And guess which type of elephant that was? The largest of the large...the African bush elephant!

Here are the keys to identifying a bush elephant:

1st IK*:  Curved white tusks; both males and females have them

2nd IK:  Large ears; each as large as the head

3rd IK:  Concave or "sway" back

Next post, we'll take a look at the forest elephant and discover the differences between both types of African elephant!

*Identification Key, or IKs, are characteristics used to identify an animal. (More about identification keys here.)


A strange eye!

This wonderful golden eye belongs to an elephant, an amazing animal who is as smart as a dog or dolphin!

There are three kinds of elephants living in the world. When we are done looking at all three, you should be able to tell the difference between:

  • African bush elephants
  • African forest elephants
  • Asian elephants

We will also look at some extinct elephants that might be familiar to you:

  • Mammoths
  • Mastodons
  • Stegodons
But to get you started, I have pictures of the three types that exist today...what differences can you see in them?