About African Elephants
African elephants are the biggest land animals on the planet, standing up to 13 feet tall and weighing as much
as 14,000 pounds. They are even bigger than their elephant cousins in Asia. You can tell them apart because their ears actually look like the shape of Africa. You can find them in Western, Eastern, and Southern Africa, in both dense forests and wide open deserts.
- The African elephant’s trunk is actually a really long nose with 100,000 muscles inside. It can be used for breathing, smelling, and even grabbing things off the ground.
- African elephants talk to each other across large distances by making strange noises that humans can’t hear.
- Their huge ears help them stay cool in the hot African climate by letting heat escape into the air.
- African elephants keep cool by sucking water into their trunks and spraying it all over their bodies.
- A female elephant is a called a cow and a male elephant is called a bull.
African elephants are herbivores. This means they only eat plants, and love to chew on grass, roots, fruit, and bark. An adult elephant can eat as much as 300 pounds of food in just one day. In fact, African elephants don’t sleep very much because they have to stay awake and eat to keep their huge bodies alive.
A Day in the Life
African elephants live in family units, with about ten elephants per family. Male elephants like to run around on their own, but females stay with the group to watch over their young. In the wild, elephants have been seen displaying a wide range of human behaviors including compassion, cooperation, self-awareness, grief, and even a sense of humor.
African elephants have to go through a lot to have babies. They have the longest "gestation" period of any mammal on the planet. They stay pregnant (gestate) for about 22 months before giving birth. When they are first born, baby elephants already weigh roughly 200 pounds and stand about three feet tall. African elephants usually have a baby every two to four years.
Life as an Elephant
The average African elephant can live to be up to 70 years old. Sadly, many are killed each year for the valuable ivory in their tusks.Today, there is an international ban on trading ivory from elephants, but this has not completely stopped the problem. The African elephant is considered a threatened species.