Bookmarkable URL:http://hdl.handle.net/10217/52221

Scientific Classification

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Proboscidea
Family:Elephantidae
Genus:Loxodonta
Genus species:Loxodonta africana

Animal Characteristics

Height:1.6-2.8 m
Weight:900-3500 kg
Identification:The African elephant has a trunk with two tusks to either side. It has large ears, pillar-like legs, and five toes arranged in a hoop-shaped tissue.
Habitat:Variable habitats containing water
Diet:Herbivore: fruit, leaves, flowers, roots, bark
Reproduction:Females come into estrus, once every 3-9 years. A single calf is born after a gestation period of 22 months and is weaned at four years of age. Daughters stay with their mother's group while sons disperse once they reach puberty. The expected lifespan for wild elephants is 65 years.
The central unit in elephant society is the mother and her offspring. The oldest female is the matriarch, leading the herd of closely related females. Bonds between group members are very strong. Even old, non-reproductive females are allowed to lead a herd because of their extensive knowledge and wisdom.
Behavior:Elephants use vocal, physical, and visual means of communication.
Status:Endangered
Interesting Facts:The large, highly vascularized ears are used as a cooling system. Thick skin helps protect elephants from the sun. Tusks grow at a rate of 17 cm a year. The two finger-like projections on the tip of the trunk are so dexterous they can pick a blade of grass.

Other Information

Geographic:Central Africa
Southern Africa
Date:1977-10 Subjects:primitive ungulate
African elephant
Loxodonta
Elephants
Proboscidea
Afrotherians
Mammals
Vertebrates
Chordata