An elephant birth is an amazing experience, especially considering that a female elephant, called a cow, will not begin to mate until between the age of 12 to 15 years. The male elephant, called a bull, begins to mate with several females between his age of 10 to 14 years.
The pregnancy can last up to 23 months, and the labor may last for several days. When born, the baby elephant, called a calf, can weigh anywhere from 200 to 320 pounds. The mother normally gives birth to just a single calf but could occasionally have twins. Female elephants usually give birth approximately every five years and continue to mate until about the age of 50.
In their world, the birth of a baby is a social event. The entire herd of elephants crowd around in a circle to support the mother and show their loving enthusiasm for the birth. They are also there to protect the newborn from predators such as tigers and lions.
Within an hour after its arrival, the newborn calf will be able to stand and will be able to walk within a few hours. Mother’s milk will be its mainstay for its first six months, and the calf will nurse for about four years. Grazing on grass and foliage occurs between two to six years, and a calf will stay with its mother until reaching adulthood.