African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Is it an African or an Asian elephant?
African elephants are easily distinguished from smaller Asian elephants by their large ears, which they flap to keep themselves cool.
The world's largest land mammal
African elephants stand 10-13 feet tall at the shoulder. Males average 16,500 lbs and can weigh more than 10 tons!
Why are elephants called pachyderms?
This term, from their original scientific classification, means 'thick-skinned'- an elephant's skin is an inch thick!
An elephant's trunk is a versatile appendage
The trunk is a fusion of nose and upper lip, sensitive enough to grasp a blade of grass, yet strong enough to rip branches off a tree.
Elephants are big drinkers
Elephants drink water with their trunk, sucking up 15 quarts at a time and blowing it into their mouths.
Elephants like to get down and dirty
After bathing, an elephant uses its trunk to blow dirt on its body as a protective coating against insect bites and harsh ultraviolet rays.
Elephant tusks are giant teeth
The incisors of an African elephant can grow to 10 feet long and weigh 200 pounds. In Asian elephants, only males have tusks.
An elephant pregnancy lasts almost 2 years!
Expectant elephants gestate for 22 months, the longest period for any land mammal. A newborn calf weighs about 250 pounds.
Elephant families are full of gregarious girls
Female elephants live in close family groups of mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts, led by the eldest female, or matriarch. Adult males lead mostly solitary lives.
'Elephant': from the Greek for 'ivory'
Poaching elephants for their ivory tusks remains a threat to their existence, along with habitat loss.
Elephants never forget
Elephants have large brains and are often thought to be on par with whales and primates in intelligence and emotional capacity.
Elephants can stand indefinitely
Elephants' straight legs and large, pad-like feet support their weight without taxing their muscles. They hardly ever lie down unless they are sick or wounded.
WWF's Work with Elephants
Elephants are icons of the African savannah and jungles of Asia. Yet their future is uncertain. Building on 40 years of experience in elephant conservation, World Wildlife Fund is working to preserve natural habitat, strengthen action against poachers and the illegal ivory trade, reduce conflict between humans and elephant populations, and enhance the capacity of local wildlife authorities to conserve and manage elephants.