The African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) is the largest land mammal on Earth.
The African Elephant has grey, almost hairless, wrinkled skin over its massive body. Its nose is a long trunk, its ears are large fan-like flaps, and its tail is short with a tuft of dark hair at the end. It has small dark eyes, a small mouth, and large forward and upturned ivory tusks. Both males and females have tusks, but female tusks are smaller.
Its legs are thick with large pads for feet. Its front feet have a round sole, and the hind (back) feet have an oval-shaped sole.
The African Elephant grows to 750 centimetres (25 feet) in length, and 250 centimetres (8 feet 4 inches) tall. The tusks can measure 340 metres (11 feet) long. Its ears can measure 200 centimetres by 150 centimetres (6 feet 8 inches by 5 feet).
It is native in the African region from Mauritius to Zaire in Africa, but is most commonly seen in reserves in Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.
The African Elephant likes rain forests, semi-deserts, swamps, coastal regions, and open grasslands.
It is diurnal, active mainly during the day. It eats grass, trees, bushes, fruit, and bark. It uses its long nose to rip branches from trees to put them in its mouth. It can also pick up small objects of food with its trunk. For drinking, its trunk is used as a siphon to suck up water. Other uses for its trunk include squirting water to keep cool, trumpeting for communication, and snorkeling to breath while underwater.
The African Elephant lives in herds of 9-11 females (called cows) and their young (called calves). Males (called bulls) leave the female herd when they are teenagers (about 12 years old), and spend the rest of their lives with other males or wandering alone.
Females give birth to one live young after a pregnancy of 22 months, the longest pregnancy of all mammals.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM