African Elephants Essay

1162 words - 5 pages

African ElephantsElephants are among the biggest animals in the world, they are the second tallest, and are the only animals that have a long muscular snout and two long, curved tusks. They are highly intelligent and very strong animals. Elephants are the largest land animals and have life spans of 60 years or more. They prove to be extraordinary animals.There are two main types of elephants, the African elephant and the Indian elephant. The elephant that I have chosen is the African Elephant. The African elephant can be found in Africa, south of the Sahara, where the climate conditions are dry and hot.Elephant reproduction is unique in many ways. The male genitals are inside the body whereas the female reproductive organs are on the outside; they are very hard to see. It is difficult to tell the two genders apart, which is often a problem when trying to find a mate. The mammary glands on the female which are the same size and shape as the breast of a woman help to identify the gender of an elephant. Another way to identify the gender is the shape of the skulls. Mating is a process, which takes place over the period of a year. Elephants are not predators as they are herbivores, and they are only prey when they are in their younger years.The elephant species is not a solitary animal. The elephants live in herds. The average herd contains six to twelve members, but it is very common to have a herd of over twelve members. There are two different herds; one herd consists of only women who are called cows, and their children. The other is a herd that only consists of men which are called bulls. The female herd is led by the oldest member who is called the matriarch. When the matriarch dies the oldest child will take its place as leader. When the men are children they stay with their mothers, but as they grow older they leave the cows and join the bulls. Elephants are migratorial animals as they move around a lot.The elephant's long trunk plays a very important role in the elephant getting food. The trunk grabs the food and puts it into the elephant's mouth. The typical elephant will eat for fifteen to twenty hours per day. An adult elephant eats 75 to 150 kg (165 to 330 lb) of food each day. Its diet includes many plant parts--leaves, twigs, bark, shoots, fruit, flowers, roots, tubers, and bulbs. They have a large appetite.Elephants have a total of four teeth, all molars, which have jagged ridges for grinding leaves, stems, and roots. A single tooth can weigh more than 5 kg (11 lb) and measure 30 cm (12 in) in length. Their tusks are used to dig for water, to lift objects, and to defend themselves. The tusks themselves can lift 900kg (2000 pounds). Elephants grow six sets of molars during its lifetime; every set consists of four molarsThe feet of the elephant are also very unique. Each foot is nearly round and each foot has a thick pad of tissue which acts as a cushion. This thick tissue is what makes the foot unique, when the foot is pressed down the...

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