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What are some facts about African elephants?

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Quick Answer

African Elephants are an endangered species of herbivore and are the largest land animals on the planet. They are characterized by their curved tusks, thick pillar legs, large ears and trunk.

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Full Answer

African elephants live throughout many countries in Africa and are not to be confused with their cousin, the Asian elephant. They are the largest land animal on earth with the female weighing between 3 and 5 tons and the male weighing between 5 and 7 tons. They can be anywhere from 8 to 13 feet tall.

The African elephant has large pillar type legs designed to support their heavy weight with thick cushions in their feet. They also have large calluses and thick toenails to protect their feet. The elephant's trunk is long and has two finger like structures on the end that allow it to pick up objects including food.

African elephants are herbivores, eating grass, fruit and bark. The average elephant can consume around 300 pounds of food in a day. Elephants travel in groups, called herds, and have structured rules about interacting with other herds. For instance, elephants raise their trunks in greeting when they encounter another herd.

The African elephant is considered vulnerable on the endangered species list. Because their ivory tusks are valued by hunters, older elephants are sometimes slaughtered for their tusks. Conservation programs are in place to help them survive.

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