Ethiopian: Isolated populations exist around Lake Chad, in Mali and Mauritania. Also in Kenya, Rhodesia, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Zaire, and in National parks in South Africa.
Mass: 2160 to 6048 kg.
African Elephants are the largest land mammals. They stand 2.2- 2.6m (females) to 3.2 -4.0m (males) at the shoulder. Distinguishing characters are the large ears that aid in temperature regulation; the tusks that are used for fighting, digging, and eating; and the trunk that is used for breathing, communication, feeding, and drinking. Their bodies are grey in color and sparsely haired. There are only six teeth, which erupt throughout life, replacing each other as they move forward. Once the sixth tooth has worn down, there are no more, and animals may starve to death.
Diet consists mainly of bark, fruit, grass, and leaves. Elephants are known to topple tress to feed on them. They can consume up to 50 gallons on water daily, and there is evidence that resource locations are learned from social interactions.
There is no breeding season. Prior to mating there is trunk interplay and rubbing the trunk along the partner's body. Gestation is for 22 months, young are born weighing 90-120kg and can walk around after 15-30 minutes. Nursing ocurs for 2-3 years and juveniles become sexually mature at 8 (female) to 13 (male) years of age.
Clans of related females and their offspring are the main social unit. Clans can range from 6 to 70 individuals. Males disperse and join male groups. They occasionally follow clans in hopes of getting matings. Males fight for females and dominance is usually due to size, fighting ability, and temperament. Fights may involve trunk wrestling or escalate to tusk charges, which can be fatal. The winner may mark the territory around a clan with a temporal gland sac.
There are several interesting social behaviors that have been observed in African elephants. They have been seen to help young and wounded elephants over obstacles. They have been observed to carry dead elephants and even bury them under branches; individuals have been seen standing by the bones of dead elephants for hours and also to carry bones around.
Elephants were originally found in all habitats of Sub-Saharan Africa except deserts and desert steppes. They still occupy diverse habitats despite their drastic reduction in numbers. Their migration patterns and therefore habitat use have changed, mainly due to their restriction to protected areas.
Biomes: tropical rainforest, tropical deciduous forest, temperate forest & rainforest, tropical scrub forest, temperate grassland, tropical savanna & grasslands
Family Elephantidae (elephants and mammoths [extinct]) Loxodonta africana (African Elephant) Elephas maximus (Asian Elephant)
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