What Are Some of the Adaptations of the African Elephant?

The African elephant adapted to its environment with its large size, big ears, thick eyelashes, ivory tusks and long trunk. The large size of the African elephant makes it nearly impervious to predators. The only vulnerable elephants are the young, which are often physically protected by the bulk of the adults in the herd.

The elephant has adapted to the heat of its African habitat with big ears. It does not sweat but still needs to keep cool, so it fans itself with its ears. This fanning cools the elephant's blood and lowers its body temperature. The African elephant's environment is also dusty. The elephant has adapted to this with thick eyelashes that keep dust away from the animal's eyes. The elephant's long trunk enables it to bathe itself with water and dust. Water baths keep the elephant cool, while dust baths protect it from insects and heat. The trunk also allows the elephant to get to food in high places, where other animals can't reach. Elephants use their tusks mostly to find food and water by scraping edible bark off of trees and digging into dry riverbeds to find underground water, which is especially useful during periods of extended drought.