The African elephant is the largest living terrestrial animal. Its thickset body rests on stocky legs, and it has a concave back. Its large ears enable heat loss. Its upper lip and nose forms a trunk. The trunk acts as a fifth limb, a sound amplifier and an important method of touch. The African elephant’s trunk ends in two opposing lips. Males stand 10–13 ft tall at the shoulder and weigh 10,360–13,330 lb, while females stand 7–9 ft tall and weigh 4,762–7,125 lb.
The largest recorded individual stood 13 ft to the shoulders and weighed 22,000 lbs.
Elephants have four molars; each weighs 11 lb and measures about 12 in long. As the front pair wears down and drops out in pieces, the back pair shifts forward, and two new molars emerge in the back of the mouth. Elephants replace their teeth six times. At about 40 to 60 years of age, the elephant no longer has teeth and will likely die of starvation, a common cause of death.
Their tusks are firm teeth; the second set of incisors becomes the tusks. They are used for digging for roots and stripping the bark off trees for food, for fighting each other during mating season, and for defending themselves against predators. The tusks weigh from 51–99 lb and can be from 5–8 ft long. Unlike Asian elephants, both male and female African elephants have tusks. They are curved forward and continue to grow throughout the elephant’s lifetime.
These two were in a pushing match. They went at it for as long as we stayed and watched.
hurry but for no apparent reason.
squirt it into their mouth. They may also squirt it at other elephants in play.
There was an amazing amount of interaction between elephants. There is no doubt that
they possess an high amount of intelligence.