Elephants are the majestic, powerful, gentle, family-oriented behemoths you see on television moving trees with their trunks, frolicking in the water, caring for their young and giving rides to children and adventurers.
According to Elephant Aid International a non-profit that seeks new ways to care for elephants, elephants have about the same lifespans as humans but only need a few hours of sleep a day. They also have some of the most remarkable traits and features of any animal. Not only do elephants trumpet sounds, they also can purr and squeal. Elephants also communicate through their feet, by sending low-frequency seismic rumbles for up to 30 miles.
Elephants have a closely knit family structure starting with the matriarch that includes individual families, small groups and larger clans which occasionally come together for reunions. Elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror, indicating self-awareness, they have a deep and long memory and are able to use tools for their own benefit. Elephants also feel and show emotions such as happiness, compassion, and grief, and even have originated death rituals as part of their mourning process.
We think of Elephants as the behemoths of India and Africa, but close by is the only privately owned elephant facility of its kind – Two Tails Ranch in Williston, Fl.
According to their website, Two Tails Ranch | All About Elephants founded in 1984, houses and cares for both African and Asian elephants that need either temporary (think vacation) or permanent (think retirement) housing and care for a variety of reasons. Florida is a prime location for elephants as the climate closely resembles their native areas.
Two Tails Ranch is privately funded and offers private guided tours by appointment where you can ride and feed the elephants, and where you will learn all the things that make elephants so amazing.