The manner of copulation in elephants was a matter for speculation in the Dark Ages. Back to back was one theory, suggested by the position of their genitals.
Others thought the male dug a pit or floated, to avoid crushing his mate.
The pulse of a healthy elephant is only 25 beats a minute.
Its trunk contains about 40,000 muscles and no bones and can hold a pint and a half of water.
The elephant is the only animal apart from man that has been taught to stand on its head. Elephants cannot jump.
It is forbidden to lead an elephant through the approach tunnels of London's Heathrow Airport.
King James I is said to have kept a menagerie in St James's Park, including an 'ellefant', which was given a gallon of wine every day.
The first elephant in the United States arrived in New York from India on April 13, 1796. Described as "the greatest natural curiosity ever presented to the public" the elephant was put on display at 50 cents a time.
Not many paid, so the price was lowered to 25 cents.
Since then, 13 April has officially been celebrated as Elephant Day.
The number of people killed by captive elephants in the US between 1983 and 2000 was 17.
The original Jumbo the Elephant was killed in 1885 in a railway accident in Ontario, Canada.
It took 160 men to remove his body from the tracks.
The first dental filling on an elephant was performed in South Africa in 1981.
A team of 17 doctors and dentists took part, using enough anaesthetic to kill 70 men.
On 2 June 1971, the Sun newspaper in the UK reported that an elephant named Iris had been taught to play 'When the Saints Go Marching In' on a mouth organ.
On 17 July 1975, an elephant called Modoc died in California at the age of 78, the oldest known non-human mammal.
Twenty-two years later to the day, on 17 July 1997, the science journal Nature published a paper showing that the African golden mole is more closely related to the elephant than to the garden mole.
A Boeing 747 Jumbo jet weighs as much as 67 average African elephants.
At the beginning of 2002, there were 129 elephants in the UK.
The gestation period of an African elephant is 660 days.
The food eaten in the life of the average Westerner weighs as much as six fully grown elephants.