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African Elephant

An endangered species

Order: Proboscidea

Family: Elephantidae

Genus & Species: Loxodonta africana


The African elephant males are 10 ft. in height from foot to shoulder. The females are slightly smaller. Males weigh 6 tons; females weigh 4 tons. They can get to be 25 ft. in length with a tail length of 3-4 ft. The ears are large and shaped somewhat like Africa. They cover the shoulder and can reach a height of 5 ft. Their skin is grey and is loose and wrinkly with less hair on it than the Asian elephant. The trunk is used for breathing and ends in two fleshy lobes. The back dips. Their tallest point is the shoulder. The forehead curves smoothly. The front feet have 4-5 toes and the back feet have 3 toes. African elephants have four functional teeth each 12 inches long. They can be replaced 6 times. After the sixth time they will not grow back and the elephant will die, which is usually around the age of 55-70. Both males and females have tusks that are actually elongated incisors and never stop growing. The largest tusk ever recorded was 10 ft. long and weighed 230 pounds.


African elephants live in most parts of Africa south of the Sahara Desert. They live in groups of females and calves. The males are driven out of the group when they reach puberty and live in bachelor herds. Mature males are solitary and only join a family unit to mate.


African elephants are entirely vegetarian. They eat grass, foliage, fruit, twigs, and branches. They us their trunks to grab the food and place it in their mouths.


The African elephant's main enemy in man. They are endangered due to poaching as their ivory tusks are very valuable on the Black Market. Hunting is banned, but because the laws are hard to enforce, the elephants are still illegally killed.


African elephants become sexually mature at 14-15 years of age. They will mate at any time of the year. the gestation period is 22 months and they usually give birth to just one calf. The calf is nursed for two years. The female will give birth every four years. The calf weighs 248 pounds at birth.


The only relative of the African elephant is the Asian elephant and its four subspecies. There are four subspecies of African elephant, the South African bush elephant, forest elephant, East African bush elephant, and West African bush elephant.