The Miniphant is a subspecies of elephants, found only in the Carlelan Savannah north of the Scorched Wilds and south of the Maninora Peaks. Between the difficulty of reaching the savannah and how strong and heavy Miniphants are, it's very difficult to capture and transport them away from their native lands. Most of the miniphants who are seen in noble's homes were born from other Miniphants in captivity.
The miniphant or miniature elephant's skull is thick and heavy enough to withstand multiple head to head collisions by other miniature elephants. The back of the skull is flattened and spread out, creating arches that protect the brain in every direction. Within the skull are several air-filled cavities that reduce the weight of the skull while maintaining overall strength. Their ears are relatively large with a length of roughly a foot and height of a foot and a half. Next, to the skull, the ears are thick, becoming thinner and thinner as it moves towards the tip. Within the ears are a large number of capillaries that help release excess body heat into the air. They can further reduce body heat by flapping their ears. Their trunks are 3 and a half feet long and weigh roughly 50 pounds. When they are young, miniphants often have trouble controlling their trunks and will quite often trip over them. Fully grown, their trunks can lift a maximum of 120 lbs and reach items at heights of up to 7 feet in the air. They drink by sucking water up into their trunk and spray it into their mouths, they can also spray their body with water and toss grass and dirt on themselves. When sucking up water, their trunks can hold 2 gallons of water. When swimming, the miniphant can use their trunks as snorkels. In addition to drinking, their trunks are used for breathing, smelling, touching, grasping and producing sound. Both male and female miniphants have tusks, although the male's tusks are slightly thicker. After their tusks begin growing, they continue to do so at a rate of 2 inches until they reach a length of 3 ft and can weigh up to 33 lbs. Tusks can be used for a multitude of purposes such as debarking or marking trees; digging for roots, salt, and water; moving trees and branches. When fighting, tusks are used to defend and attack.
Genetics and Reproduction
Miniphants reproduce sexually. The gestation period for a miniphant is a year-long with interbirth intervals usually lasting two to three years. Female miniphants always give birth during the wet season, even in captivity.
Growth Rate & Stages
Baby: Miniphant calves on average weigh 18 lbs and are a foot tall. They are considered to be babies until they've been weaned off their mother's milk, which can be anywhere from 5 to 10 years after they are born. For the first few years, calves are entirely dependent upon their mother on everything from feeding to migration to even being taught how to bathe themselves. Between 6-12 months, calves begin growing their tusks. Adolescent: Adolescence lasts from the time the youngster is weaned until age 17. It's during this time that they reach sexual maturity and all young bulls, begin pulling away from the herd. Some young cows may also pull away from the herd, forming smaller pods with peers. Adult: Adulthood begins at age 18 and miniphants have a typical lifespan of 60 years. Around 20 years, miniphants begin to reproduce and continue until age 50. Males will pull away from the herd, by themselves, to search for new females to mate with. Cows will stick together in pods to assist one another with calf rearing.
Ecology and Habitats
Miniphants can be found in multiple habitats including savannahs, forests, deserts, and marshes. The nobles who own them as pets will put them in large outdoor habitats with ponds and a decently sized shelter, usually a barn with lots of trees in a warm environment. As miniphants are a mark of status, any noble who doesn't take adequate care of them will be shamed or find themselves at the ridicule of others.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Adult miniphants can eat up to 200lb of food a day and consume 17 gallons of water a day. Their typical diet consists of vegetation, seeds, nuts, and fruits. A young calf's diet starts out solely consisting of their mother's milk but slowly starts being replaced by the diet of an adult until they are fully weaned off the milk.
Miniphant cows spend their entire lives in tight-knit groups with other females led by the oldest female in the herd. Meanwhile, males are typically more solitary, spending most of their adult life by themselves or in small groups with other males numbers at max seven members. The leader of these male herds is determined via dominance with the biggest, oldest, and sexually active member of the group holding dominance over the others. When not competing for dominance or mates, males are nearly as social as miniphant cows. During mating season, males become far more aggressive with threat displays, chases, and minor sparring with the tusks. Serious fights are rare, however. In captivity, Miniphants are known to form close bonds with their owners often displaying signs of distress and sorrow when an elderly owner dies. They also occasionally form bonds with horses and other animals but, most of the time they merely coexist with the other animals.
Miniphants are semi-domesticated with their owners taking delight in showing off their pet's ability to grab things from high shelves and carry heavy objects, like children, without issue. They are less delighted when their Miniphants play with chandeliers or lamps that are within range of their trunk.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
In the wild, miniphants are hunted for their ivory. Though, their status symbol amongst the nobles makes it so they are more likely to be captured alive while their larger counterparts are hunted for ivory.
Compared to the size of their head, the miniphant's eyes are rather small Miniphants have long eyelashes that keep dust, dirt, and debris out of their eyes. They also have a third eyelid that protects the eye from water when the miniphant is swimming, bathing, or feeding. Their nose and upper lip are fused into a long versatile limb called a trunk. In their mouth, miniphants have 26 teeth including two long incisors. Their skin is tough and wrinkly, except for around their mouths and their inner ear, and is usually an inch thick.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
Found through out Samolyra. Primarilly in the Carlelan Savannah and ocassionally in Scorched Wilds and Maninora Peaks.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
The miniphant's hearing is quite sensitive, with them being able to hear clouds approaching. Through their feet, they can sense tremors in the ground, being able to 'hear' another miniphant stamping its feet a couple miles away. Their eyesight, on the other hand, is very poor with them only being able to see items 15m away. Their sense of smell is their strongest sense with them being able to smell things several kilometers away. As can be surmised by them being able to sense tremors in the ground, the miniature elephant's sense of touch is also very sensitive. Their taste is comparable to other animals with them being able to distinguish between suitable, unsuitable and favored food.
Males: 4.5 ft. Females: 4 ft.
Males: 1000 lbs Females: 750 lbs
Body Length: 6 ft Tail Length: 1.5 ft
Miniphants can carry weights of up to 200 lbs and can run at speed of 25 miles an hour for short periods of time.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Miniphants can have grey or reddish brown coloring. Calves have brown or reddish hair that darkens as they grow older.
These are so cute! This article felt very concise and well formatted and made me actually want to read the scientific information that I'd normally skim over. Also, they can hear clouds? I love it!
Thank you! I didn't see why their hearing couldn't be as sensitive as a full-sized elephants.
Wait elephants can hear clouds?!
Those miniphants still sound rather big to me. How did it came to be a pet for the rich?
Basically, once their existence was made known, the nobles were like 'its a new and exotic creature I must have it!' In my head there are a lot of nobles who own peacocks, ocelots, various parrots and other colorful birds, and a few more eccentric nobles who own more dangerous animals like alligators and big cats. Miniphants are the in between animal, more exotic looking than birds and smaller animals but no where near as dangerous as gators or tigers or even full-sized elephants.
The article is well detailed and researched.