The Elephantidae – aka Elephant

Elephants are the world’s largest land animal and are actually mammals of the family Elephantidae. The Elephantidae are a family of large, herbivorous mammals collectively called elephants and mammoths and are the largest existing land animals. There are currently only three recognised species of elephants which are the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian elephant. You can tell the species apart by their ears, African elephants have large ears shaped like the continent of Africa and the Asian elephants’ ears are smaller and shaped like India. Wild elephants live in families called herds, which are made up of female elephants, only young male elephants would be found in the herds. The leader of the herd is usually the oldest female – she is called the Matriarch.

Interesting Fact—> “Elephants have fabulous memories, and this is one of the things that makes them so special. An elephant’s brain can weigh up to 5 kilograms – larger than any other land animal. It helps store that amazing memory”. Where do Elephants live? Sub-Saharan Africa, India and South East Asia…. African elephants are the larger of the two. African elephants live in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, with habitats ranging from the savannas to the mountains. Asian elephants live in areas of India and Southeast Asia with a habitat consisting of the grasslands surrounding the jungle Facts about the Elephant’ s body Tusks.

Elephant tusks are actually enlarged incisor teeth which first appear when elephants are around 2 years old. Tusks continue growing throughout their lives, which become very large in size. Tusks are used to help with feeding, prising bark off trees, digging up roots or as a defense when fighting against others trunks.

A fusion of the nose and upper lip, the trunk is an elephant’s most versatile tool, used for breathing, smelling, touching, grasping, and producing sound. It’s probably the most amazing body part in the animal kingdom. Elephants are the only animals that can snorkel without any aid by holding the tips of the trunk above the water’s surface, they can completely submerge in a river. An elephant’s trunk actually has fingers, which is crazy! African elephants have two but the Asian elephant’s only have one. The elephant’s trunk contains over 40,000 muscles and can lift up to 770lbs of weight. WOW! It can also pick up something as small as a grain of rice.

The skin of the African elephant is more wrinkled than the Asian elephant. The wrinkles in an elephant’s skin help to retain moisture, keeping the skin in good condition. … The skin can be as thick as an inch on areas such as the back and as thin as an inch on the ears and around the mouth. The reason elephants are grey too is because they find it hard to get rid of their body heat, so grey is the best colour between black and white.

Life expectancy of an Elephant 1. African bush elephant – 60-70 years 2. African forest elephant 60-70 years 3. Asian elephant 48 years.

The oldest known elephant in the world lived for 86 years (1917 – 2003)

Pregnancy Cycle of an Elephant – A female elephant is pregnant for 22 months, which is the longest pregnancy amongst any other mammal. having a longer gestation period leads to a more developed newborn and it increases the newborn’s chances of survival. A baby elephant is born at around 250lbs and around 3 foot tall, which is huge compared to a human baby. BIG BABY! elephants are completely blind when they are born and are especially well-cared for in their matriarchal herd. … If anything goes wrong in the herd, the calves are in immediate danger to predators or natural disasters.

The body mass of an Elephant 1. African Bush Elephant- 6,000kg 2. Asian Elephant 4,000kg 3. African Forest Elephant 2,700kg 4. Baby Elephants only weigh around 200-268lbs

The diet of an Elephant – Adult elephants can eat between 200-600 pounds of food a day. As herbivores, elephants consume grasses, tree foliage, bark, twigs, and other vegetation daily. Elephants also love a nice fresh banana – which they can peel themselves, their such clever mammals. Elephants can also drink up to 50 gallons of water a day about as much as a standard bathtub holds.

How do Elephants communicate? And how much sleep do they need? Elephants have an amazing sense of hearing due to the size of their big ears, they can send vocalizations over a long distance. Elephants communicate by “trumpetiting” which can be heard from a long distance away, but they can also communicate with a low rumble that can travel as far as 6 miles which can be picked up by his feet. IMPRESSIVE!!!

Elephants also communicate with a low frequency sound such as infrasound. Infrasound can travel several kilometers. Which provides the elephants with a “private” communication for their complex social life. Elephants can also lay their trunks on the ground to detect vibrations in the earth. Elephants sleep 3 to 7 hours at night, lying down for 1 to 5 hours at a time and getting up to feed between naps. But in the wild in their natural surroundings the elephants rested for only two hours, mainly at night.

Poaching of Elephants. Elephants are my most favourite animal in the world – and I am disgusted in some of the things that are happening to the Elephants. People are poaching elephants to sell ivory. Which is such a sad experience we all see happening online, in the news and over social media. Elephant numbers have dropped by 62% over the last decade, and they could be mostly extinct by the end of the next decade. As a rough estimate 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking ivory, meat and body parts, leaving only 400,000 remaining. Poaching not only hurts the size and strength of a herd, but also destroys the ecosystem maintained by the elephants ‘ movement through the forest. With forest elephants being the largest mammals on land, their disappearing presence will have a sizable effect on the forest around them.

FACT—> One hundred years ago, there were about ten million African elephants and 100,000 Asian elephants. Now it is reported that there only are 400,000 left in the whole entire world.

I want my children to grow up in a world without Poaching.

Leanne Orchard, Happy Buddha Poole