Wednesday, January 29, 2020

African Elephant

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Quick Facts

  • Size: Adults range between 19 to 24 feet in length and 10 to 11.5 feet tall.
  • Weight: Adults can weigh anywhere between 13,000 and 19,000 pounds.
  • Lifespan: 60-70 years
  • Range: Most African countries except the Sahara and tropical rainforest of the Congo.
  • Habitat: Forests, partial deserts, and grasslands

The African elephant is the largest living land-dwelling animal on Earth. Aside from the great apes (humans, gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans) – they are considered to be most intelligent mammal.

These gently giants are herbivorous animals, meaning they eat shrubbery, vines, herbs and tree leaves. They are characterized by its highly dexterous trunk, long curved tusks, and massive ears.

An African elephant’s trunk is extremely versatile. Elephants use their trunk for smelling, breathing, detecting vibrations, caressing their young, sucking up water, and grasping objects. Their Tusks are actually hugely elongated upper incisor teeth embedded deep in the elephant’s head. Elephant use their tusks as a tool to dig for food or water and to strip bark from trees. They also use them as a weapon in battles with rivals; and as a courtship aid – the larger his tusks, the more attractive a male elephant may appear to a female.

Elephants eat roots, grasses, fruit, and bark, and they eat a lot of these things. An adult elephant can consume up to 300 pounds of food in a single day.

There are two subspecies of African elephants—the Savanna (or bush) elephant and the Forest elephant. Savanna elephants are larger than forest elephants, and their tusks curve outwards. In addition to being smaller, forest elephants are darker and their tusks are straighter and point downward. There are also differences in the size and shape of the skull and skeleton between the two subspecies.

Fun Facts

  • The largest African elephant ever recorded was found in Angola, weighing in at a massive 24,000 lb, with a shoulder height of 313.0 ft.
  • Elephants use their large ears to control their body temperature and keep them cool under the African sun.

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