Order - Proboscidea
(Elephants)

Proboscidea is an order containing only one family of living animals, Elephantidae, the elephants, with two species, African Elephant and Asian Elephant. Elephants are the only trunk-nosed mammal there are. Their trunk is a long and muscular arrangement of the nose and upper lip and is very heavy. Don’t be surprised if you see an elephant resting it on one of their tusks because the trunk of a full-grown elephants weighs about 400 pounds! Their trunk is able to hold up a tree but can also bend and move so it can pick up little things like pieces of fruit, one at a time. Their trunk is not used to eat with, but used to pick up food so they can put it in their mouth, kind of like our hands; they also use it to cool themselves off by sucking up water and then spraying it onto their backs.

Their tusks can be used for fighting, pushing, lifting, prying bark from trees and digging for water and roots. These teeth usually come about when they are about two years old. Believe it or not, just one tusk can weigh up to 200 pounds and can reach a length of 5 feet! Just because most tusks are about 5 feet, doesn’t mean all of them are, because the record of the length of a tusk is 11.5 feet long! Elephants aren’t right-handed or left-handed, but, instead, are right-tusked or left-tusked.

Each of an elephant’s ears weights up to 110 pounds and is extremely good at picking up sound. When the temperature gets hotter, elephants flap their ears; this cools the blood going through the vessels of their ears, which then flows back to the body, cooling it off. Elephants’ feet are used to supporting great weight, and that’s why they are used to carry heavy loads. Although it may seem hard to balance like this for us, elephants actually stand on their toes, which are set in a semi-circle around a spongy pad.

Author: Briana T.
Published: 04/2006

Sources:
MacKenzie, Paul. "About elephants.: Elephant Information Respository. 2001. 05 Feb. 2006