Here in the United States, parts of the country are starting to experience some spring-like weather, as we reach warmer temperatures. Although humans have their own ways of staying cool, today we want to discuss how elephants manage to beat the heat in the warmer months.
The most obvious tool to keep cool would be those big ears, but today we want to talk about the scientific marvel that exists in their skin. By studying and measuring the heat and moisture levels released by a herd of 13 elephants, it was found that their skin effectively opens up at air temperatures as low as 10° to 12° Celcius (approximately 50° Fahrenheit), which allows them to perspire through the pores in the cuticles on their feet. Scientists reported in The Journal of Experimental Biology that the skin of elephants is permeable, allowing them to lose an increased amount of moisture through evaporation; this cools them down faster, meaning they don’t need to sweat in the way other animals must. This also results in a quicker rate of hydration, which is why it’s important that they always have access to abundant amounts of cool, clean water.
The wrinkly, cracked texture of their skin also aids in the cooling process. The moisture in the environment can pool on the surface of their leather-like skin for longer, rather than evaporating off immediately.
Lady, looking cool with her lovely wrinkles