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Elephants Animal Facts:
The Elephants Animal largest living on land – the male African savanna elephant may be as tall as 4m (13 ft) and (9% tons) elephants are weigh nearly tonnes a thick-set body with by pillar-like legs, (relatively smaller a convexly curved spine, Elephants Animal large ears in Asian elephants), and a heavy head with a long, mobile trunk. African and Asian elephants live in savanna and light forest; African forest elephants (recently given species status) mainly live deep in the African rainforest (they occasionally venture on to the savanna). Elephants live for about 65-70 years -longer than any other mammals except humans. Previously, elephants were thought to grow throughout their lives, but this is not considered true today.
Elephants Animal Perhaps the most distinctive feature is the trunk, a flexible elongation of the upper lip and nose that consists of thousands of muscle fibres. It is used like a “5th limb” to pluck grass, pull down branches, lift logs, or squirt water or dust. Also immediately noticeable are the tusks (upper incisors, which are large, thick, and curved in most bull elephants; cows have smaller tusks (in female Asian elephants they known to beyond the lip). Elephants Animal Their tusks are known to grow throughout life. The skeleton consists of thick, heavy bones, which are able to support the animal’s great weight. The large, fan-shaped ears, which contain a network of blood vessels, are constantly in motion to aid heat loss. In aggressive displays, the ears are spread sideways. The skin is thick, finely wrinkled, and sparsely haired.
The skull is filled with air cells to lighten the weight of the bone. The long incisors (tusks) have deep, downward – pointing sockets. The lower jaw has a spout – like chin that, unlike in most mammals, moves horizontally during chewing.
Elephant have large, ridged cheek teeth (molars and premolars) to deal with their coarse diet of bark, leaves, branches, and grass (African forest elephants also eat fruit). In eating these foods, elephants cause enormous damage: grass is pulled up in tufts, branches are broken off, bark is stripped, and small trees are sometimes uprooted. Some areas have alternated between closed woodland and open savanna, depending on the number of elephants living there.
Elephants animal use their mobile trunk to pull down branches. An adult needs to eat about 160 kg (350 lb) of food daily.
Digging for salt
Elephants often need to supplement their diet with extra salt. This juvenile African elephant is loosening fragments of salt – rich soil with its tusks. Juveniles learn from older members of the herd where to find salt.
African elephant have 2 opposing, finger – like outgrowths called processes at the tip of the trunk; Asian elephant have one. In both, the processes are used to pick up small objects.
To keep the skin healthy, African elephant take a daily dust – bath.
SUCKING UP THE DUST
Dust is sucked up into the trunk, which is a tubular extension of the upper lip.
The dust acts as a sunscreen, protecting the elephant’s skin from the direct rays of the sun.
Dust is also a good insect repellent, deterring insects from biting the sensitive skin.
Elephants Animals live in family groups that consist of the oldest, most experienced female (the matriarch) and other females of various ages (and their young). For protection, or when feeding in lush areas, small herds of African elephants may join together to form groups made up of several hundred individuals. African forest elephants and Asian elephants live in small family groups only. Males, however, only join the herd when a female is sexually receptive and are otherwise either solitary (older bull or live in bachelor groups (young bulls). Adult bull Asian elephants have annual periods of sexual excitement, called “musth” (bull African have an equivalent condition, about which less is known)
Elephant calves are protected from predators and other dangers by all members of the herd, which are usually blood relatives. This Asian elephant calf is only a few weeks old and remains close to its mother Two smaller females are close by, ready to assist the mother if Necessary.
The Asian elephant animal is endangered due to competition with a growinghuman population, and its expanding need for land. The same is true of African elephants, where their original habitat of forest and savanna is becoming increasingly fragmented and farmed. African elephants also face the hazard of hunting -a traditional practice that is a source of meat, and of highly valuable ivory. During the 20th century, ivory prices soared, and commercial hunting became widespread. Elephant numbers crashed an effect spurred on by periodic droughts. In 1989, the Kenyan authorities acted, burning a stockpile of seized ivory that sent a worldwide message. In 1990, the international sale of ivory was banned although in the 21st century, strong demand for it remains.
DEPOSITING THE DUST
The elephant blows out the dust through the trunk, depositing it on the back and head.
Keeping the skin healthy
To maintain good skin condition, regular dust – baths are as important as water – baths.
This is a typical African elephant family group. Communication within a herd takes many forms, including vocalizations (some of which are below the range of human hearing), touch, foot stamping, and body postures. Cooperativebehaviour – such as employing a system of lookouts while bathing – is common.
Length: elephant: 5.6 – 6.7 m
Lifespan: Asian elephant: 48 years to 70 years
Mass: Asian elephant: 5,400 to 6,000 kg
Gestation period: elephant: 18 – 22 months
Height: elephant: 2.7 m, to 3.3 m
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