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| Facts and Knowledge:
Although the African elephant is the largest and most powerful of all living mammals, it is also among the most gentle, living in peaceful family units. essentially an animal of open grasslands, the African elephant is adaptable within its happily in a variety of habitats within its sub-Saharan African homeland. But wherever it lives the elephant never strays far from a water supply of drinking and bathing water.
Habits: Elephants are social animals with strong family ties. So close are the relationships that they even bury their dead with twigs and leaves. They also grieve over their lose, staying be the "grave" for many hours. Cows (females) and their calves, live in family units under the leadership of a mature member of the group is related. Young bulls (males) are driven from the family when they reach puberty to live in separate bachelor herds. Adult bulls live alone and join a family unit only briefly when a female is ready to mate.
Herds may wonder great distances, but they never move far from water. Elephants like baths every evening, so they they stay close to any available pool or stream. They'll make do with a shower-- squirted from the trunk - if water is scarce. After bathing they coat their skin in dirt to protect them from insects.
Communication: When elephants are foraging for food out of site of one another, they communicate by making noises similar to gargling. If an elephant senses possible danger, it will alert the others by stopping the noise. Conflicts between elephants are communicated by a threat display in which the superior will twirl its trunk or throw dust into the air. Sometimes an elephant will also make the trumpeting noise for which it is famous. The display is also used to warn enemies. It its signals are ignored, the threatened elephant may charge at its attacker. But charges are rarely carried through; at the last moment, the elephant either stops short or turns aside.
Breeding: Elephants mate when they are 14 to 15 years old. Courtship involves a display of affection between the cow and bull in which they caress each other with their trunks. A single calf, standing about 33 inches high and weighing approximately 250 pounds is born 22 months later. The calf is suckled for a least 2 years and remains in the family unit after the birth of its mother next calf. A cow usually gives birth about every 4 years and will often have two or three calves with her at the same time. Cows defend their young vigorously, charging any intruders.
Key Facts: Sizes, Weight, breeding, lifestyle, related Species
Distribution: In most parts of Africa,
south of the Sahara.
Special features about the African Elephant:
Did you know:
Elephants will eat up to 500 pounds of vegetation
a day and drink up to 40 gallons of water at a time?
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