Table of Contents
African Elephant; Facts, Habitat, Diet, Size and Strength:
Uncover the majestic African Elephant, delve into their behavior, family, African Elephants conservation efforts, population, weight and their threats, etc.
African elephant Species which is also called (Loxodonta) is divided into two species namely; the African Bush Elephants (Loxodonta Africana) and the small African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis).
These are the largest animals on land and they happen to be magnificent creatures with distinctive features and unique adaptations.
These two species have a slight difference in their appearance for example they differ in size, color of their trunks, shape and size of their ears. Both the Loxodonta Africana and the Loxodonta cyclotis are social herbivores.
Characteristics of African Elephants;
Their trunk is often 6-6.5 ft long and weighs 150-200 kg. This trunk is mainly for breathing although it has other functions like sucking water from the source to the elephant’s mouth.
It sucks almost 8 liters at a time. Elephants also use their trunks to pick and spread dust all over their bodies to make a protecting layer of dirt against direct sunshine. The trunk is also used to produce sound, take care of the calf during nursing and produce behavioral signals.
Their ears are 2times large compared to those of the Asian elephants. The African elephants position their ears in order to get balance. Their ears are said to be shaped as the map of Africa.
The elephant skin is grey although sometimes it may happen to look brown due to the mixture of water and dust bathed by the elephants in order to protect their skin from direct sunshine.
These are enlarged incisor teeth which grow when the elephant is around two years of age. African elephants often use their tusks when feeding, protection and defense when fighting. These elephant tusks are the most desired part on the elephant due to the fact that they are made of ivory. This puts the elephants in danger because a lot of poachers hunt them for their tusks.
Their eyesight seems to be so poor that they can best see in deem light. African elephants have specialized cells in their eyes called rods which give them ability to see best during the night.
African Elephant Diet:
What do African Elephants Eat?
These animals are herbivores which means they basically feed on vegetation such as leaves, grasses and fruits.
African elephants have a massive appetite of food and are said to spend 3 quarters of their day eating. They use their trunk to cut and organize bunches of grass to their mouths.
Each elephant can consume about 300 lbs. of food and 30-50 gallons of water per day. Some books say, an African Elephant food amount is 150kg per day.
Habitats of the African Elephants:
Where do African Elephants Live?
Savannah is the most common African Elephant Habitat covering about 70% of their range. These vast grasslands mostly national parks provide the African elephants with plenty of space to roam and graze on grasses, shrubs, and trees.
The other home of African Elephants is the forests mostly, the dense rainforests of Central and West Africa. Although quite challenging, the smaller African Elephant Species known as African Forest Elephant is environmentally adapted to the life in forests where it feeds on fruits and leaves as their primary food source.
Some of the best African National Parks where you can see Elephants include;
Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison falls National Park in Uganda, Amboseli National Park, Tsavo National Parks, and Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, Serengeti National Park, Tarangire National Park and Ruaha National Park in Tanzania, Chobe National Park in Botswana, Kruger National Park in South Africa, Etosha National Park in Namibia and Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
African Elephant Size, Height, Strength and Weight;
African Elephant Weight: known for their impressive weight, a male African elephant can weigh between 5,000 and 14,000 pounds (2,268 to 6,350 kilograms), with the largest African elephant ever recorded in Angola weighing 24,000 lb (11,000 kg). Female elephants can weigh somewhere between 3,000 to 7,000 pounds (1,361 to 3,175 kilograms).
African Elephant Height: it can reach an average height of 8 to 13 feet (2.4 to 4 meters) at the shoulder. It can also reach up to 18-24 feet in length from tip of the trunk to end of the body.
African Elephant Strength: They are known to be some of the strongest mammals and are usually seen uprooting trees, tearing apart vegetation, manipulating objects and even lifting weights. When using their trunks, elephants can exert force of up to 300 kilograms (660 pounds) when lifting or pushing objects.
African Elephants Speed – Charging Speed: These animals can run at a very great speed which is 25 miles per an hour despite of their massive weight. Their massive weight also acts as a defense measure from the predators.
The most interesting part of elephants is the fact that the elephant calf takes only 20 minutes to stand on its legs after birth and can walk with in an hour. In not more than two days, the calf can be able to walk long distances and keep up with the herd.
The elephant’s brain capacity is larger than that of a human being making it remember everything and able to make solutions for its problems.
African elephants communicate in different ways such as making seismic signal sounds which they can detect through their bones, making trumpet calls and body language.
African elephants can spend almost 3 quarters of their day eating. The quantity of food these elephants eat is worth the size of the animal.
African elephants can consume almost 50 gallons of water and 300lbs of food per day.
Life Span of African Elephants;
The life span of African elephants happens to be longer compared to other mammals. These beautiful creatures are said to live up to 60-70 years of age.
Many factors can shorten the life span of African elephants and these include; human activities like hunting the animals for ivory, habitat quality of the animals, predation and availability of food and water.
Adaptations of the African Elephants;
The African elephants tend to spread dust and water onto their bodies during sunny days in order to protect their skin from direct sunshine.
The African elephants have long hair around their eyes which helps to prevent foreign objects from entering their eyes.
African elephants have long trunks which help it to do plenty of tasks such as breathing, sucking water to the mouth, handling bunches of grass and other vegetation.
African elephants have wide ears which they gently wave around their head to reduce their body temperature during hot days.
African Elephant Predators;
Among the predator animals that attempt to hunt elephants are, lions, hyenas and crocodiles. These predators mostly try to eat sick or young elephants.
The predators come in large numbers in order to fight the elephant down but in most cases the elephants win.
African Elephant Conservation Efforts;
Initially, elephants had a behavior of migrating long distances looking for vegetation and fruits to eat. However, most of the areas have become human settlement grounds leaving no room for the migrating elephants.
Their habitats have become people’s homes and working places which has led to the distinction of the animals.
Securing the boundaries of protected areas to prevent illegal human settlements in the animal’s habitats.
Employing enough armed game rangers to protect the elephants against poachers who have played big roles in the extinction of these beautiful creatures.
Putting restriction grounds for elephant predators in order to reduce the number of elephants being eaten by the carnivores.
Banning illegal trade of ivory in order to reduce the need to hunt elephants for their tusks. This may help in the protection and conservation of these magnificent animals.
The African elephants have played a big role in the in Africa’s tourism industry due to the fact that the attract a big number of visitors who would like to see the beautiful behavior and habitats of the elephants.
African elephants versus Asian Elephants;
There many physical differences that can be used to differentiate the African elephants from Asian elephants and these include; African elephants have larger ears compared to those of the Asian elephants.
For the Asian elephants, only the males have tusks whereas both the African males and females grow tusks.
Asian elephants are smaller in size compared to the African elephants.
Why are African Elephants Endangered?
African elephants are mostly hunted for their tusks which are made of ivory. Ivory happens to be very expensive hence putting the elephants in danger.
How many elephants are left in Africa?
Although many elephants have been poached and killed for their tusks, the number still grows due to the fact that they give birth. As of today, there are 415,000 elephants left in Africa.
What kind of Elephants live in Africa?
There are only two elephant species that live in Africa and they are; the savannah/bush elephants and the forest elephants.
Tree Climbing Lions;
The famous Tree Climbing Lions are lions with a rare and mysterious behavior of climbing trees. Tree Climbing Lions in Uganda are found in Queen Elizabeth National Park in the Southern Ishasha Sector.
They are a few most impressive creatures in the world. Mountain gorillas are a major reason for most visits in Africa and a face to face encounter with them in their natural habitat is undoubtedly a life changing experience.