Elephants use their trunks and their tusks to protect themselves from predators. They also use loud noises to scare away threats.
In many cultures, the elephant is a symbol of power and strength. However, the elephant symbolizes many different things to many cultures and even has several significant religious meanings.
Female elephants are called cows. Male elephants are called bulls. An entire group of elephants are reffered to as a heard. Elephants are very intelligent animals with complex social structures.
Elephants eat vegetation in the form of grasses, bushes, small plants, tree bark, twigs, fruit and roots. They spend 16 to 18 hours a day eating, which equates to about 80 percent of the day.
There are two species of elephants: the Asian elephant, which lives in south and southeast Asia, and the African elephant, which lives in sub-Saharan Africa. The can be found living in the tropical forests, woodlands and savannahs of these regions.
An elephant is pregnant for up to two years before giving birth, the longest gestation period of any mammal. Elephants are the largest living and largest-brained land animal in the world, and a long development is needed for elephants in the womb.
A baby elephant is called a calf. It weighs about 220 pounds at birth.
The average African elephant weighs between 2.5 and 7 tons, and the average Asian elephant weighs anywhere from 2.5 to 5.5 tons. Given its size, the African elephant is the largest living land mammal on Earth.
According to Pennsylvania State University, an elephant's trunk contains approximately 100,000 muscles. The prehensile trunk is also used for trumpeting, drinking and grabbing objects, in addition to functioning as a nose. African elephants feature two finger-like protrusions at the end of their trunks, while Asian elephants have just one.
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.
After successful courtship, elephants mate with the male mounting the female from behind. Mating occurs after somewhat elaborate courtship and mating rituals.
Elephant tusks are used for obtaining ivory, a hard, white substance that can be found only in the tusks and teeth of certain mammals. The ivory itself is used to make a variety of items that are typically used to show affluence, wealth or importance.
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.
In a fight between the elephant and a hippopotamus, the elephant emerges as the winner. The elephant is bigger and stronger, while the hippopotamus is slower and does not have the same reach as an elephant.
To save the African elephant, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna imposed a complete ban in 1989 on international trade in ivory. In the United States, the African elephant is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and in 1989, Congress established a moratorium on the importation of the ivory of African elephants. These measures reduce elephant poaching.
The body parts of an elephant include the trunk, tusks, teeth, ears, legs, skin and a tail. In common with all vertebrates, they also have skeletons and internal organs. Elephants also have a brain that is four times the size of a human brain, making it the largest brain of any known land animal.
African elephants prefer a wide range of habitats from deserts to rain forests. Elephants are physically adapted to survive in each type of environment. Some of these adaptations include different body size and adaptation to food specific food sources and water availability.
An average elephant has two tusks, which are technically extended incisors, and then four molars with one molar conforming to each half of the upper and lower jaw respectively for a total of six teeth. Elephants wear through their molars over time and go through an average of six sets of four over the courses of their lives.
African elephants are listed as threatened under the American Endangered Species Act because the species is at risk of extinction due to poaching for their tusks, which are sold on the black market. In addition, the African elephant population is at risk due to loss of habitat when mankind moves into the elephant's range.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) gives the average weight of an African elephant as 6 tons. The typical weight of an African elephant varies according to the animal's gender and age.
As of June 2014, the oldest living elephant is Lydia, owned by David Tesch, according to Elephant.se. Born in 1943, Lydia is 71 years old. The second-oldest living elephant, Shirley, owned by Wild Adventures, was born in 1944 and is 70 years old.
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.