EleFact Friday: Keeping Cool and Warming Up

As we finally enter the autumn season in the states, the rainy season is about to begin down in Brazil. Changing seasons allow us to reflect and prepare to help the elephants keep cool (or warmer) as their bodies do the work to regulate and help them adapt to changes in temperature. For today’s EleFACT, we’re going to look a little bit more into what helps the elephants stay comfortable in any type of weather. 

Thermoregulation is an internal physiological process that allows mammals to heat and cool their bodies. Larger mammals may also benefit from a process called “gigantothermy,” a phenomenon where bigger animals are more easily able to maintain a constant, relatively high body temperature than smaller animals, due to their smaller surface-area-to-volume ratio. It has also been shown that their metabolism, paired with their larger size, can result in heat production rates that exceed heat loss rates – so their bodies hold onto more heat than they lose throughout the day. In cooler weather, this can certainly be advantageous. 

One of the many benefits of Elephant Sanctuary Brazil is that the climate is more appropriate for both Asian and African elephants compared to many other environments that captive elephants live in around the world. We’ve shared before about the measures that the sanctuary takes to prepare for colder temperatures should the weather fall to temperatures that could cause concern. Ultimately, our elephants, with their large sizes and larger personalities, have biology on their side when it comes to remaining comfortable in all types of weather. 

Photo of Rana enjoying some lovely weather


  1. REPLY
    Melinda says

    That was fascinating! Thank you for the info!

  2. REPLY
    Pam says

    Thank you for another great article, Sara! My new word for the day: “gigantothermy” …

  3. REPLY
    Carey says

    “Giant-o-thermy” 😁 thank you for this!

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