EleFact Friday: Functional Fuzz

It’s EleFACT Friday, and we have some hairy ladies to talk about! We all know that Maia is our resident fuzzy head, but Guillermina has brought some fresh new hair-dos to our sanctuary family.

Elephants are considered to be hairless animals, but both African and Asian elephants are actually born with a layer of thick hair called “lanugo,” like human babies. The majority of this hair sheds off before birth and continues to fall off as the calf grows. Although this coat doesn’t provide any warmth, it allows for extra sensation, helping the animal determine how close an object is to the hair it touches. 

As we’ve seen with Guillermina, some of the thickest hair on an elephant can exist on its tail and can reach a length of up to 100 centimeters, depending on the individual. You may have seen in photos we share that some of the elephants have hair around their eyes and nose. These help provide protection, keeping particles and germs from getting into their body through the trunk, ears, nose, or eyes – just like in humans. There are also very small sensory hairs that run up and down the trunks, which contribute to the trunk being about 10 times more sensitive than a human finger. 

Research has also shown that hairs on elephants can serve as a cooling mechanism, drawing heat away from the body. It’s believed that their hair can assist in convective heat loss and thermoregulation by up to 23%, which is essential in African elephants, who lack sweat glands. 

While the fuzzy heads of our sanctuary residents are charming and just too darn cute, it’s important to remember that some of the cutest anatomical aspects of creatures, great and small, serve a very important purpose to their survival. 

Photo of Maia in all of her hairy headed glory


  1. REPLY
    Carol says

    Amazing and brilliant, nature is.

  2. REPLY
    Shirley taylor says

    Thank you for all the things you tell us about the beautiful lovely elephants you have rescued. I bet there is never a dull moment in your lives with these girls. Thankyou for sharing their and your life with us xx

  3. REPLY
    Pam says

    Love learning everything about these girls! Thanks for another great EleFACT post.

  4. REPLY
    Susy says

    Cada informe que brindan hace que mí interés por saber más sobre elefantes sea mayor. Además la sensibilidad con que cuentan las cosas que ellas hacen es admirable Gracias.. gracias.

  5. REPLY
    Patricia says

    Oh, gosh, Maia’s hairdo is on trend. How cute is she! Thank you for this fascinating info about our beloved girls. I’m grateful for all of you every day.

  6. REPLY
    Eileen L. says

    Bless their hairy little heads! 😀

  7. REPLY
    Janine Proctor says

    Wow now I think elephants are even more amazing and adorable at the same time. Thanks for sharing those wonderful facts❤️

  8. REPLY
    Merry says

    Link isn’t working. Is it me? Thanks for all!

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