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African Elephant

African Elephant


African Elephant Baby
African Elephant Baby

African Elephant Habits

Elephants are social animals with strong family ties. So close are the relationships that they even bury their dead with twigs and leaves. They also grieve over their loss, staying by the "grave" for many hours.
Cow (females) and their calves, live in family units under the leadership of a mature female, to whom every other member of the group is related.
Young bulls (males) are driven from the family when they reach puberty to live in separate bachelor herds. Adult bulls live alone and join a family unit only briefly when a female is ready to mate.
Herds may wander great distances, but they never move far from water. Elephants like baths every evening, so they stay close to any available pool or stream. They'll make do with a shower, squirted from the trunk, if water is scarce. After bathing they coat their skin in dirt for protection from insects.

African Elephant Communication

When elephants are foraging for food out of sight of one another, they communicate by making rumbling noises similar to gargling. If an elephant senses possible danger, it will alert the others by stopping the noise.
Conflicts between elephants are communicated by a threat display in which the superior will twirl its trunk or throw dust into the air. Sometimes an elephant will also make the trumpeting noise for which it is famous. The display is also used to warn enemies. If its signals are ignored, the threatened elephant may charge at its attacker. But charges are rarely carried through; at the last moment, the elephant either stops short or turns aside.

African Elephant Breeding

Elephants mate when they are 14 to 15 years old. Courtship involves a display of affection between the cow and bull in which they caress each other with their trunks. A single calf, standing about 33 inches high and weighing approximately 250 pounds is born 22 months later.
The calf is suckled for at least 2 years and remains in the family until after the birth of its mother's next calf. A cow usually gives birth about every 4 years and will often have two or three calves with her at the same time.
Cows defend their young vigorously, charging any intruders.

African Elephant Food & Feeding

Elephants are entirely vegetarian. They eat a wide variety of grasses, foliage, fruit, and small braches and twigs. They gather food with the aid of their trunk and then place it into their mouths.
The few teeth elephants have are used to grind their food. Once an elephant has lost all its teeth, usually around the age of seventy, it can no longer feed itself and it dies of starvation.
Elephants have gigantic appetites. Night, early morning, and evening are their favorite eating and drinking times, but they also eat all day on the move.

African Elephant Key Facts

              Height: Male 10 feet to shoulder. Female a little smaller
              Weight: Males up to 6 tons. Females up to 4 tons
             Sexual maturity: 14-15 years
             Mating: Any time
             Gestation: 22 months
             Number of young: Usually 1 calf
            Habit: Live together in family units, adult males are solitary
            Diet: Entirely vegetarian-grass
            Lifespan: About 70 years



  • Elephants will eat up to 500 pounds of vegetation a day and drink up to 40 gallons of water at a time.
  • An elephant can walk faster than a man, maintaining a steady speed of 5-51/2 miles per hour. A herd on the march can easily cover a distance of 50 miles a day.
  • When water is scarce during the fry season, elephants will dig for water n the sandy bed of a river that has stopped flowing.
  • The largest tusk ever recorded was 10 feet long and weighed nearly 230 pounds.
  • With muscle counts ranging between 40,000 and 150,000, the trunk of an elephant is amazingly dexterous, it can kill a lion or caress a calf.

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