If you’re a fan of the National Geographic channel, you may be aware of quite a few amazing stories about elephants, including how they have a fantastic memory and that they actually mourn their dead.

Here’s a few more facts that’ll make you feel even more respect for these great (in every sense) beasts.

1. They are conservationists. If you saw the movie ‘The Jungle Book‘, you may have noticed how all the animals bent low in deference to the elephants because, as Bagheeera explains to Mowgli, they make life possible for all the other animals. Digging up salt licks and water holes, and pulling down trees and bushes to allow grass to grow, elephants help make the jungle a good habitat for other animals to survive; which is why they’re known as a keystone species’.

2. They recognize their own reflection. Biologists use the ‘mirror test’ to gauge self-awareness in animals, and along with apes, dolphins and humans, elephants are intelligent enough to know when it’s their own image they’re seeing in a mirror.

3. They have an incredible swimming talent. In spite of their massive size, elephants are amazingly agile swimmers. When crossing rivers in a herd, they even do synchronized swimming, and often use their trunk as a snorkel.

4. They hear with their feet – also. Besides making sounds that are too deep for human perception, elephants can communicate with each other in another form of code too. They pound the ground, the stomping creating vibrations that other elephants can sense at a distance.

5. They can be left or right-tusked. Or, like humans, ambidextrous. The tusk is used as a tool or weapon by elephants and over time, like humans, they develop a preference for using either the left or the right tusk to get their job done.