African elephants or Loxodonta are the largest living land mammals on Earth, with males typically reaching between 12 to 14 feet tall at the shoulder and weighing between 8,000 to 14,000 pounds. In addition to their incredible size, these pachyderms are very social creatures that are very intelligent and complex.
With that being said, here are some fascinating facts about African Elephants.
1. African Elephant Appearance.
The African elephant is the world’s largest land animal, with adults weighing up to six tons and standing as tall as thirteen feet at the shoulder. They are gray or light brown in color, with large ears, long trunks, and short tails. Their skin is thick and wrinkled to protect them from thorns and insect bites. Additionally, these animals have two finger-like projections at the end of their trunks that are used to grasp objects. Both male and female African elephants have tusks which are actually incisor teeth that grow throughout their lifespan. These tusks are used for digging for food, scraping bark off trees as well as self-defense purposes.
2. African Elephant Behavior.
African elephants live in herds of 10 to 30 individuals which are normally led by a matriarch. These animals are not only one of the most intelligent animals on the planet but also very emotional to the extent that they can express their joy, playfulness, compassion, grief, and rage. Besides that, female elephants mature between the ages of 12-14 years old, while males mature between the ages of 13-15 years old. Males typically live a solitary life away from the female herds unless it is the mating season when they’ll have to travel for long distances in search of females to mate with.
Basically, a typical day for an elephant would involve them eating, grooming, removing dirt from their skin, mud bathing in lakes or rivers, socializing with other members of their herd for periods ranging from hours to days as well as traveling long distances in search for food and water sources.
3. African Elephant Diet.
When it comes to food, African elephants have a very voracious appetite that sees them consuming almost 400 pounds of plant matter each day. Their diets normally consist of grasses, vines, bark, and trees. The size of the elephant, its age, whether it is pregnant or nursing, and whether it has just finished growing are all factors that influence how much these animals eat. Furthermore, the season influences how much an elephant eats because different plants have different nutritional values during different seasons. Generally speaking though, African Elephants tend to eat more during dry seasons when there isn’t as much water around for consumption.
4. African Conservation Status.
As of 2016, the African elephant is listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. The population has declined by an estimated 111,000 elephants over the past ten years. The major threats to the species include habitat loss, human-elephant conflict, and poaching for ivory. Although there are many challenges facing African elephants today, there are also many conservation efforts underway to protect these magnificent creatures. Organizations such as Tusk Trust are doing everything from anti-poaching patrols in Africa’s most important wildlife areas to providing funding for economic development programs that help keep people away from forests where poachers hunt elephants. Other organizations, like Wildlife Conservation Society and Save the Elephants, work to create sanctuaries where African elephants can live free from danger.
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