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The Elephant

Source: USFWS

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Elephants are the biggest land animals in the world. The African elephant is found on the continent of Africa and the Indian elephant is found in Asia. Elephants are mammals as well as herbivores, meaning they only eat plants rather than meat.

Types of Elephants

There are two main types of elephants: the African elephant and the Indian elephant.

African Elephant
Source: USFWS
Just how big are they?

Elephants are truly gigantic animals. They can grow to 11 feet tall and can weigh up to 13,000 pounds. The largest elephant ever was 13 feet tall and weighed 24,000 pounds! Elephants' appetites are as big as their size. They can eat up to 400 pounds and drink up to 30 gallons of water each day.

What do they look like?

Elephants have many interesting features including giant ears, long tusks, and a huge trunk. Elephants flap their giant ears to cool off. Their tusks can be up to 10 feet long. Elephants use their tusks to dig or scrape the bark off of trees. Sometimes they use them to fight. Their tusks continue to grow for their entire life.

The Trunk

An Elephant's trunk is their most versatile appendage. Elephants use their long trunks to pick up food as small as a blade of grass, but also to pull down tree branches to get to food. Elephants also use their trunk to drink, smell, and suck up water to spray themselves for a bath.

African Elephant
Source: USFWS
Are they smart?

Elephants are considered very intelligent. They have very sophisticated social structures and methods of communication. They also are very skilled with tools and can be trained for all sorts of tasks. Maybe there is some truth to the saying that "an elephant never forgets".

Baby Elephants

A baby elephant is called a calf. Like all mammals the babies feed off their mother's milk. They are hairy and usually are between two and three feet tall.

Are they endangered?

Because of their size and prized ivory tusks, elephants have long been a favorite of big game hunters. Too much hunting has caused the elephant population to diminish rapidly. Elephants are now a protected species throughout the world.

Fun Facts About Elephants

For more about mammals:

African Wild Dog
American Bison
Bactrian Camel
Blue Whale
Giant Panda
Polar Bears
Prairie Dog
Red Kangaroo
Red Wolf
Spotted Hyena

Back to Mammals

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