The size of an elephant depends on the elephant's age, gender and type; the largest elephant was an adult male African elephant who weighed approximately 24,000 pounds and stood 13 feet tall at the shoulder. Most African elephants stand from 8.2 to 13 feet tall at the shoulder.
Depending on the species, elephants are found naturally in Africa and Asia. African elephants are found in most parts of Africa, while Asian elephants are mostly found in the tropical forests in Asia, such as in India, Thailand and Indonesia.
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.
As of July 2014, there are between 450,000 and 700,000 African elephants in the world, and between 35,000 and 40,000 Asian elephants, according to Defenders of Wildlife. Both species are threatened not only by habitat loss, but also by poaching for the illegal ivory trade.
According to the Oxford Dictionaries, a "white elephant" is a possession that is expensive and hard to maintain but also difficult to get rid of. For example, it may be used in reference to a house or car that requires a lot of upkeep and cannot be sold because no potential buyers can be found.
Elephants are considered the strongest mammal and strongest land animal, as they can carry up to 9,000 kilograms, which in turn equals the approximate weight of 130 adult human beings. An elephant's trunk consists of over 100,000 muscles.
Elephants lack natural predators in nature, largely as a result of their size. They are too big for most would-be predators to take down safely and eat. Humans are the primary predator of elephants, as people still hunt elephants for their ivory, meat and bones.
A group of elephants is called a herd or a parade. The phrase "herd of elephants" is more commonly used than the more fanciful phrase "a parade of elephants."
A young elephant is called a calf. Adulthood doesn't begin until the calf, whether male or female, reaches 18 years of age. Beyond that, an elephant's expected lifespan is between 60 to 70 years.
The elephant represents a number of characteristics, but knowledge and strength are the most common. These two characteristics are recognized by believers of Hinduism and Buddhism, in which the elephant is the incarnation of the god Ganesh.