African Elephant - did you know
- is not territorial
- An elephant family is led by an older cow, the matriarch. Family groups may come together to form larger herds. As males grow older they will become more independent and eventually leaves the family to join other males. Adult bulls join herds when cows are in breeding condition.
- at top speed an elephant can run at 40 km/h
- during droughts elephants use their trunk and feet to dig for water in dry riverbeds
- Elephants flap their ears to cool the body. Flapping creates a cooling breeze over the veins and the cooled blood helps to keep the body cool.
- Elephants will sleep standing up for a few minutes, they will also lie down to rest or sleep deeply.
- Tend to use one tusk more than the other, resulting in different tusk lengths.
- Have 5 toes on the rear foot and 5 toes on the fore.
- Will often cross their back legs to rest them.
- Comsumes about 5% of their body weight (f.e. up to 300 kg) in 24h.
- Elephants cannot drink through the trunk, they would drown. They will suck up water and release it into the mouth. An adult elephant's trunk can hold approx. 10-12 litres of water.
[video] Elephant drinking
- Elephants take dust-bath and mudbaths to coat the skin as a protection against parasites.
- Have excellent hearing and smell. Communicates by touch, scent, sight and sounds. Groups keep in contact with loud and very low frequency calls which carry for at least 2-4 km. They are capable of hearing sound waves well below our human hearing limitation (approx. 30 Hertz)
- Elephants have a gestation period of 22 months
- an elephant calve is suckled for at least 2 sometimes 3 years and even after weaning it remains closely bonded to its mother.
- An elephants skin colour depends on the colour or the soil they wallow in or use for dust baths
Wild Ways – Peter Apps
Beat about the Bush – Trevor Carnaby
Safari Companion - Richard D. Estes
Behaviour guide to African mammals - Richard D. Estes
Kingdon Field Guide to African mammals - Jonathan Kingdon