A matriarch African elephant leads the herd through migration by using her memory to find safe routes with plentiful food and water. Families of elephants join to make a large group for safe migration.Continue Reading
African elephants migrate to avoid predators, find new resources and seek desirable climates. Migratory herds may include up to 500 elephants. Elephants that live in desert areas sometimes migrate in circles to search for abundant water supplies.
These animals often inhabit harsh climates that are difficult to survive in. Large ears diffuse heat to keep the animal cool in hot weather. The trunk is a multifunctional body part that allows elephants to siphon and spray water, grab objects, fight off enemies, drink and communicate with the herd. They eat roots, berries, tree bark and grasses. African elephants are foragers that require little sleep. These factors help the animals roam long distances in areas with few food resources during migration.
Baby elephants can nurse for as long as 10 years, which helps them survive during food shortages. Mothers keep their babies close at all times during migration and teach them how to survive while traveling with a herd. Female babies are likely to stay with the herd longer than males.Learn more about Elephants
A herd of elephants is called a parade. Elephants naturally live in herds with linear and established social orders. They require large areas in which to raise families, breed, travel, forage and live. The climates of Asia and Africa are ideal for these activities.Full Answer >
Generally speaking, elephants are broadly classified as either Loxodonta africana, if African, or Elephas maximus, if Asian. However, genetic research has found that subspecies exist in both groups and the scientific, or taxonomic, name is therefore not so simple to discern.Full Answer >
The visible ivory tusks on elephants are made primarily of dentine and include small amounts of enamel. Tusk length varies among African and Asian elephants and is hereditary. The upper incisors may grow to 10 feet or more.Full Answer >
According to researcher John Hutchinson from the Royal Veterinary College in the U.K., adult elephants are capable of top speed running in a walk-like gait at a speed of 6.8 meters per second. That is nearly 15 mph.Full Answer >