The African Elephant
Height: 2.8 m + (110 inches + )
Weight: male: 5,750 kgs (12,678 lbs) / female: 3,800 kgs (8379 lbs)
Grouping: Family herds led by matriach, mature bulls solitary or in separate groups.
Breeding: All year, 1 calf.
Diet: Large quantities of grass when available, shoots, roots, bark, leaves, fruits.
The elephant is the world's largest land animal. The trunk is a muscular extension of the upper lip containing the nostrils, the tip is equipped with 2 fingerlike projections for handling small objects. They have huge ears, up to 6.5 x 5 ft (2 x 1.5 m) long. Their feet have 4 toes on the front feet, 3 on rear feet. The skin is naked except for scattered bristles and sensory hairs, their colors vary from gray to brown.
The elephant is arguably the world's most versatile herbivore. Equipped with its unique nasal appendage they have an all in one rasping, smelling, drinking, squirting, broadcasting tool. A big elephant feeds from the ground up to 20 feet higher than a giraffe can reach. The trunk can coil around and pull up grass, pick up peas, and tear off tree limbs. The tusks are also tools for prying bark loose, digging pits and even caves in mineral earth to increase salt intake. Grass and herbs are mainstays in rainy season when elephants wander widely over the savanna.
Elephants are active during the day and night. They feed 16 hours and sleep 4 to 5 in a 24 hour day (usually standing, sometimes lying on one side), they drink and bathe daily but can abstain several days while ranging up to 50 miles (80 km) from water source. Bulls drink up to 60 gal (227 liters) a day, 26 gal (98 liters) at a time. Bathing elephants roll and wallow in the shallows, often submerge completely in deep water. At small water holes, the trunk is used to shower, then dust or mudcoat the body.
A matriarchal clan society which consists of a mother with her dependent offspring and grown daughters with their offspring. Males live separately, alone or in bachelor herds. Being non territorial, mating success depends on size and weapons. Growth continues into old age; seniors are therefore the biggest tuskers and do most of the breeding.