Elephant Adaptations: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 Elephants
  • 0:30 The Ears
  • 1:01 Wrinkly Skin
  • 1:31 The Tusks
  • 1:56 The Trunk
  • 2:32 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Elephants are some amazing creatures, and they have many adaptations that allow them to survive in a brutally hot climate. Come and learn about some of these special adaptations in this lesson.


Big, bold, and beautiful. These are three words that accurately describe elephants. Adult elephants can weigh about the same as four cars! Their size is an adaptation, which is a characteristic that allows them to be better suited to their environment. As the largest living land animal in the world, elephants are very intimidating to other animals. As a result, many predators choose to stay away and pick on someone their own size (or smaller).

The Ears

Since most elephants live in areas that get up to 120 degrees, their bodies need to be built to survive the scorching hot temperatures. One way that elephants stay cool is by using their ears. Their ears actually act like fans because they're able to reduce the elephant's body temperature by around ten degrees just by flapping them. Additionally, their ears are very big and have many blood vessels, which are little tubes inside the body that carry blood. When hot blood goes through these blood vessels, elephants can face into the wind and let the breeze cool down the blood.

Wrinkly Skin

Have you ever noticed how much effort some people will go through to avoid wrinkles? They buy wrinkle creams, avoid the sunlight and sometimes even get plastic surgery to look young and remove wrinkles. Elephants, on the other hand, love their wrinkly skin. This is because it helps them stay cool. Their skin is actually pretty thin, and the wrinkles allow the heat to escape their bodies. Sometimes, elephants will take a dip into cool water to escape the heat. Their wrinkles trap the cold water, allowing them to stay cool for a longer period of time.

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