African elephant (Loxodonta africana)
The heaviest land animal and the second tallest in the Animal Kingdom. Males are larger than females.
They have enormous ears (each can be 120-125cm across) which enable heat-loss for temperature control and their distinctive nose; a long boneless trunk extending from their upper lip which can measure about 150cm long which is used for foraging, acts as a sound amplifier and is an important method of touch.
They have dark grey skin which is scattered with black hairs that wear off through the years.
||3600 - 6000 kg
||Up to 4m at shoulder
African elephants wander day or night generally in non-territorial herds than can number in the hundreds. Their society is based on a matriarchal system; the matriarch is the oldest female who leads a clan of closely related females and offspring. Males often wander alone once they reach maturity. The matriarch determines when they eat, rest, bathe or drink. Once the matriarch reaches advanced age (50-60 years old) she is replaced by the next oldest and she is either abandoned or leaves by herself.
||4 - 9 years
||none specific; reproductive rate higher during rainy seasons and lower during times of drought.
|Number of offspring
||1; calves are weaned a few months before the next is born
Due to their ability to survive long periods of time without water African elephants can occupy a large variety of habitats including deserts, forests, savannas, river valleys and marshes.
Elephants eat vegetation like leaves, roots, bark, grasses and fruit. They can consume anywhere from 100 to 300 kg of food and drink up to 190 Litres of water each day.
Lions, Hyaenas, Humans; due to their size adult elephants are generally only vulnerable to killing by humans, however young calves are susceptible to be snatched by lions and hyaenas.
African elephant at Naankuse sites