African Elephant

The African Elephant

Table of Contents

  • General Description
  • Habitat and Geography
  • Amazing Adaptations
  • Elephant Eats
  • Elephant Reproduction
  • Elephant Friends
  • Fun Facts
  • References

  • Domain --                                Eukarya

  • Kingdom --                              Animalia

  • Phylum --                                Chordata

  • Class --                                  Mammalia

  • Order --                                 Proboscidae

  • Family --                                 Elephantidae

  • Genus --                                 Loxodonta

  • Species --                               Loxondanta africana

    Loxondanta africana is in the domain eukarya because it is eukaryotic.This means its cells contain membrane-bound orgenelles. The kindgom is animalia, which means it is multicellular, heterotrphic, and the cells lack a cell wall. The african elephant lyes in the phylum chordata because it has tissues, and a coelom. Along with having these two atrabutes, it is bilaterally symmetrical and also possesses a dorsal,tubular nerve cord and a postanal tail. It lyes in the class Mammalia because it possess hair which is made of keratin, the hair provides insulation. It is endothermic (the majority of the heat energy is used to maintain their high body temperature). It has a 4 chamber heart. They also have mammory glands that are used to produce milk to nourish their young. Their diaphram is a muscle that seperates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity. They have an extended gestation period, well developed brain, and teeth which are imbedded in the jaw bone and come in a variety of forms. The order Proboscidea, has great size, nose and upper lip form proboscis, upper incisors are tusks, thick skin, and scant hair. the elephant falls in the family Elephantidea because it is a large mammal that is within the order Proboscidea. the scientific name is Loxadonta africana. It is the largest land mammal (Africa's true kind of beasts).

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  • African Elephant

    Photo by Elephant Country Web

    General Description:

  • Worlds largest land mammal
  • L. africana larger of the two African Elephant species
        L. cyclotis Smaller of the two. They have Downward-pointed tusks and smaller rounded ears.
  • The male elephant is much larger then the female elephant. Usually around 25 feet long, stands 11 feet tall, and weighs up to 14,000 lbs.
  • The average elephants physical description is:
  •          Head and body length including the trunk: 19-24 feet
  •          Shoulder height: 10-13 feet
  •          Weight: 5.5-7 tons
  •          Tail size: 4 feet
  •          Skin: Can be 1 inch in certain places and usually hairless
  •          Tusks: Present in both sexes
  •              Elephants have two prehensile extensions at the tip, which is used like a hand.
  •              Serves as a nose, hand, extra foot, signaling device and tool for gathering food, siphoning water, dusting, and digging.
  •          Feet: Wide and padded which enable elephants to walk quietly

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    Habitat and Geography:

  • African elephants live in many parts of the Sub-Sahara Africa, although their range is now scattered due to agricultural expansion. They are able to adapt to different environment easily. Small numbers of forest elephants live in dense equatorial forest of Central Africa from Zaire west to Mauritania, while Savanna elephants are more wide spread in drier woodlands and Savannas. Savanna elephants are most common in: Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa. Migratory patterns are taught through generations.

  • Elephants live in families. Several families live together in a "herd." The leader of the herd is usually the oldest female elephant. She is called the "matriarch." All the babies and other females follow her.

  • A young male elephant stays with the herd until he is fourteen or fifteen years old. Then, he goes out on his own. The young male will try to find a female elephant for a companion.

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  • Amazing Adaptation:

  • Majority of the skull is honeycombed with sinuses to minimize weight.
  • Tusks are elongated and grow throughout the lifetime. They are used for carrying and gathering food as well as weapons.
  • Six consecutive sets of two upper and two lower molars are produced throughout their lifetime.
  • Trunk is an elongation of the nose and upper lip. The adult?s trunk contains 150,000 muscles. It is used for eating, drinking, dust, water bathing, and communication.
  • Sense of smell is highly sophisticated; they are believed to locate underground water by smelling the earth above.
  • Vision is poor. Long lashes and eye lids protect the eyes from dust.
  • Hearing is acute
  • Ears are used to help cool body down and control blood circulation.

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  • Adaptation qualities of the African Elephant

    Elephant Eats:

  • The African Elephants have an ineffective digestive system and can only digest 40% of what they eat.
  • Elephants in different habitats eat different amounts of foods.
  • Wild Range: With the help of their trunk and large molars, they are able to gather a large variety of vegetation. During the rainy season, Savanna elephants usually eat grasses and herbs. During other times of the year, they get a variety of foods from the forest and streams where they can eat bark from a variety of plants, fruits, and leaves.
  • Zoo elephants: Each day they consume 125 lbs of hay, 10 lbs of herbivore pellets, 10 lbs of vegetables and fruits, and a few leafy branches.
  • Working elephants: 300-600 lbs per day
  • Being very large and strong animals, elephants can break whole trees for food. They eat almost anything green.
  • Daily consumption of water for a full-grown elephant is approximately 30-50 gallons.

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    Erotic Elephants:

  • Not strictly seasonal, but most mating occurs during the rainy seasons. First conception at 10-11 years; gestation 22 months; interval between calves 4-9 years; twins are extremely rare. When it is crowded or during droughts, elephants lower reproductive rate. Bulls of 25 and older begin competing reproductively, but normally bigger bulls over 35 monopolize mating. They usually continue to search for mating opportunities.
  • Breeding interval: females give birth every four to nine years
  • Breeding seasons: Births occur more frequently during rainy seasons, but may occur throughout the year
  • Number of offspring: 2 (high); average is 1
  • Gestation period: 22 months (average)
  • Age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 10-12 years
  • Age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 10-12 years

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  • Erotic Elephants

    Let's Be Friends:

    The interactions between the African Elephant and other organisms is commensilism. Birds feed off of the insects that lay on the elephants back. The insects feed off of the Dirt and any other food source they find on the elephants back.The birds and insects do not harm the elephant. The birds sit on the backs of the elephant for transportation and protection. However, the elephant is in danger as well. Humans hunt for ivory, and by doing this, they kill the elephants and put them in the endagered list.

  • Coexist with 3 other large mammal species: buffalo, bush pig and bushbuck.(Eltringham, 1982).
  • Ignore other herbivores (antelopes, warthogs and zebras).
  • Seek out lions in their vicinity and chase them away.

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  • Fun Facts:

  • Skin is very sensitive to sunburn and bug bites. Therefore they roll in dust and mud and through dust on their backs to prevent irritation to their skin.
  • Elephants have the largest brain size verses body weight other then man. An elephant?s brain at birth is 35% of adult weight.
  • The largest known specimen of the African Savanna elephant is on display at the Smithsonian?s National Museum of Natural History. It stands 13 feet tall and weighed 22,000 lbs.
  • An elephant?s trunk can be used to snorkel under water. Their trunks help them breath while they cross deep rivers and lakes. They are great swimmers.
  • Closest relatives: Dugongs, manatees, hyraxes, and aardvarks.
  • Elephants seem to be fascinated with the tusks and bones of dead elephants, fondling and examining them.
  • Elephants are very social, frequently touching and caressing one another and entwining their trunks.
  • Elephants demonstrate concern for members of their families they take care of weak or injured members and appear to grieve over a dead companion.
  • Elephants cannot jump or run. Normal walking rate is 3.7-5 mph. Charging or fleeing elephants hit 25 mps.
  • The life span of an elephant is about 70 years old.

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  • References:

    Work Cited

    "Africa." Oakland Zoo. 1997. 26 Mar. 2007 .

    "African Savanna." National Zoological Park. 2002. Smithsonian. 20 Mar. 2007 .

    Col, Jeananda. "African Elephant." Enchanted Learning. 1999. 25 Mar. 2007 .

    ?Elephant." African Wildlife Foundation. 20 Mar. 2007. 22 Mar. 2007 .

    "Elephants:Facts About Elephants!" African Elephants. 2004. 1 Apr. 2007 .

    Estes, Richard. "Loxodonta Africana." Nature Wild Life. 24 Mar. 2007 .

    Künkel, Reinhard. African Elephants. New York City: H.N. Abrams, 1999. 12-95.

    Norwood, Lindsey. "Loxodonta Africana." Animal Diversity Web. 2002. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. 21 Mar. 2007 .

    Ross, Diane C. "Life of an Elephant." Pbs. 23 Mar. 2007 .

    Ross, Doran H. Elephant : the Animal and Its Ivory in African Culture. Los Angeles: Fowler Museum of Cultural History, University of California, 1992.

    Siller, F.c., and R.m. Meyler. Elephants, Ancient and Modern. London: Studio Vista, 1968. 96-131.

    Winkler, Peter. "Big Talkers." National Geographic Sept. 2001. 1 Apr. 2007 .

    Wing, Larry D., and Irven O. Buss. Elephants and Forests. Washington: Wild Life Society, 1970. 25-35.

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