elephant.gifAfrican Elephant

Loxodonta (slanting tooth) africana (from Africa)
Contributed by Elizabeth8

The African elephant can be quickly distinguished from the Indian elephant by its greater size and its larger ears, which may reach a length of about 5 ft from top to bottom. The African elephant is tallest at the shoulder, has more wrinkled skin, and bears tusks in both male and female. The Indian elephant is tallest at the arch of the back, bears tusks in the male only, and has one lobe instead of two on its trunk. http://www.indianchild.com/african_elephants.htm


The adult male is much larger than the adult female. Head and body length including trunk: 19-24 feet. Shoulder height: 10-13 feet. Weight: 5.5 - 7 tons. Tail: 4 feet. Brownish gray skin has folds and may be one inch thick in places. The African Elephant has a marked dip between its fore and hindquarters giving a concave curvature to its back. Ears are large and fan-like. The trunk has two prehensile protrusions at the tip. Large tusks are present in both sexes. Elephants are digitigrade with pads of fibrous tissue to cushion toe bones. http://www.oaklandzoo.org/atoz/azeleph.html


Elephants have an inefficient digestive system and digest only about 40 per cent of what they eat. They eat enormously. Estimates in the wild range from 100-1000 pounds of vegetation per day (a 16 hour period). Zoo elephants are estimated to eat approximately 50 pounds of food per ton of elephant per day. Working elephants need 300 to 600 pounds of food per day. The wild elephant is a destructive eater, uprooting and scattering as much as is eaten, often breaking down whole trees. Elephants eat almost anything green, but green grass, shoots and buds of trees and shrubs are preferred. Farms are often raided for fruits and vegetables of all types. Average daily consumption of water for full-grown animals is between 30 and 50 gallons.



400,000 to 600,000 (down from perhaps 10 million early in this century) http://www.kidsplanet.org/factsheets/elephant.html


Elephants can live 50 to 60 years. http://www.kidsplanet.org/factsheets/elephant.html

Habitat and Range:

Natural home range is 500 miles; migratory patterns are taught from one generation to the next. Now they are mostly restricted to parks and preserves. Habitat formerly was area south of the Sahara; agricultural expansion has severely reduced it. Highly adaptable, elephants can survive in forest, bush or savannah. http://www.oaklandzoo.org/atoz/azeleph.html
ist2_456406_african_elephants.jpg This is a picture of an elephants habitat, a savannah.


Females carry their young for almost two years. At birth, the calf weighs about 250 pounds. A cow may give birth every three to four years. http://www.kidsplanet.org/factsheets/elephant.html

Interesting Facts:

African elephants care for wounded individuals and are unique in that they identify and look after elephant bones.