Common Name: African Elephant

Scientific Name: Loxodonta africana

 

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Probiscidea

Family: Elephantidae

Genius: Loxodonta

Species: L. africana

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No other animals have a nose quite like the elephants’. Elephants are very special because of their unique long trunks. There are, however, many more things about elephants that make them so amazing! Especially the African Elephants, which I chose to do my report on. Habitat An elephant lives wherever they can find enough food and water. They also prefer a place where there is little disturbance from humans. Most continents that elephants live on have dry, woodlands. In some regions, elephants occur in desert areas and mountains too. They also live in the Congo and equatorial forests and dense tropical rain forests.

Life Span/Social Behavior: The African elephant lives to be about sixty years old. The African elephants travel in cohesive herds consisting of 10 related males and females and their offspring. The matriarch is the oldest female. The matriarch sets a place for group activities. The males leave the herds at about 13 years of age. They then travel in what is called “bachelor” groups. The elephants communicate by using low-frequency sounds that can travel one mile or more.

Diet: The elephants’ rasping molars allow them to gather and process lots of vegetation. During rainy seasons they eat lots of grasses and herbs. During other times they eat by the forest and streams, where they eat leaves, fruit, and bark.

Appearance: The big elephant is called the Savanna (L. Africana). The male Savanna can grow up to 25 feet long and can have up to an eleven-foot tail. They can also be up to 14,000 pounds. The males are bigger than the females. These elephants are more widespread than the other type of elephant which is called the Little Forest Elephant (L. cyclotis). This elephant has smaller, rounder, downward pointed tusks. There may even be a third species, the West African Elephant, but scientists are not too sure about that one yet. The other two are both intermediate and have very versatile trunks. With their trunks, they can manipulate tiny objects and tear down tree limbs. The elephant also has wide, padded feet. Their large flappable ears help them cool off. They also retreat to shade or water during the hottest part of the day.

 

Reproduction: The elephant reproduces sexually. The older and larger males, in musth (a condition of high testosterone levels) dominate by breeding. They try to win acceptance of female elephants in heat. The elephant’s gestation lasts for twenty-two months. Only one calf is born at a time. The female Savanna breeds by age ten and can give birth to young every four years. As you can see, the elephant’s trunk, diet, reproduction, habitat, lifespan, and social behavior all play parts in making the African Elephant such a unique animal.

 

Author: Erica M.  

Published: April 2006

 

Sources:
http://edcintl.cr.usgs.gov/kidstour/animals.html http://www.fws.gov/le/KidsSite/JigsawIndex.htm http://www.google.com/imgres?mgurl=http://dls.fws.gov/DATA/files/1E416C3A-68AA-426B- 88A0DC3D346C1C73.jpg&imgrefurl=http://publicdomainclip- art.blogspot.com/&h=733&w=1083&sz=193&tbnid=USg8L3IaCpoWhM:&t bnh=101&tbnw=150&hl=en&start=4&prev=/images%3Fq%3DAfrican% 2Belephant%2Bsite:.gov%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D% 26safe%3Dactive%26sa%3DG