Elephant Facts

Elephants are the largest land animal in Africa and Asia, with males weighing up to 6 tons (5.4 metric tons) and females about 4 tons (3.6 metric tons). They have a lifespan of up to 70 years.

A male African elephant can reach 3m tall. The Asian elephant reaches 2.7m tall. Elephants in Africa have large ears. Indian elephants have smaller ears.

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Elephant Facts for Kids

  • Elephants have large ears
  • Elephant tusks are made of ivory
  • Their trunks have up to 40,000 muscles
  • They can spend 16 hours per day eating
  • The female elephant can be pregnant for 22 months
  • Baby Elephants are called calfs

Types of Elephant

There are 3 different species of elephants living in different parts of the world.

African Bush Elephant

The African bush elephant, also known as the African savanna elephant, is the largest living terrestrial animal threatened by habitat destruction and poaching for meat and ivory. It is a herbivore, feeding on grasses, creepers, herbs, leaves, and bark.

They live in Sub-Saharan Africa and inhabit various habitats, including forests, grasslands, woodlands, wetlands, and agricultural land.

Elephants live in family units, which are led by a matriarch. The family unit size varies seasonally and between locations, but on average, there are 6.3 family units in Rwenzori National Park and 28.8 in Chambura Game Reserve.

African Forest Elephant

The African forest elephant is one of the two living African elephant species and is the smallest of the three living elephant species. It lives in family groups of up to 20 individuals.

It has grey skin, sparsely covered with coarse black hair, and large oval-shaped ears with small elliptical-shaped tips. Its back is nearly straight, and its tusks point downwards.

They are found in large contiguous rainforest tracts from Cameroon to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the largest stable population in Gabon. They have suffered from poaching, loss of habitat, and high levels of conflict.

Asian Elephant

Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants and have a higher body point on the head, a finger-like process on their trunk, and a convex or level back. They have 19 pairs of ribs and lighter skin color than African elephants.

They are megaherbivores that consume up to 150 kg (330 lb) of plant matter daily. They graze on the tall grasses, browse on the leaves and twigs of bamboo, and eat the fruits of wood apple, tamarind, kumbhi, and date palm.

What Do Elephants Eat?

These majestic mammals eat grass, plants, and fruit every day for 12 to 18 hours! With the help of their long trunks, they can sniff their food and lift it up into their mouths to eat it.

How much does an elephant weigh?

Elephants generally weigh between 2,700 and 6,000 kg on average.

Elephants are the largest land animals, weighing between 4,000 and 6,000 kg. Females weigh between 4,000 and 6,000 kg. They grow between 8.2 and 13 feet

  • Asian Elephant: 4,000 kg
  • African Bush Elephant: 6,000 kg
  • African Forest Elephant: 2700 – 6,000 kg

Why do elephants have tusks?

Elephants use their trunks for

  • Gathering food
  • Eating
  • Defense
  • Lifting objects
  • Digging

Elephant tucks are made from ivory. For many years ivory was used for making piano keys. This was a problem for the elephant because it caused them to be killed for their tusks. The ivory trade ended in 1989 when countries banned the international ivory trade.

However, some people still hunt elephants for their tusks and sell them illegally.