Elephants are one of my favorite animals; for something to be so big and massive yet be so graceful and majestic, is to be admired.
Did you know that elephants (pachyderm) are the largest land-living mammal in the world? There are actually two types of elephant, the Asian elephant and the African elephant. Elephants use their tusks for digging and finding food. Both female and male African elephants sport tusks; however, only the male Asian elephants have tusks. Elephants also use their tusks to dig for ground water; an adult elephant needs to drink about 55 gallons (210 litres) of water per day!
The elephant’s large, thin ears are not only beautiful, but they also regulate its temperature. Blood is circulated through their ears to cool them down in hot climates. An elephant’s trunk can sense the size, shape, and temperature of an object. The elephant uses its trunk to lift food and suck up water to then pour in its mouth; the trunk can grow to be about 6 1/2 feet (2 metres) long and about 300 pounds (140 kg)! They also use their trunks like snorkels to swim in water.
Elephants are herbivores and can spend up to 16 hours per day collecting leaves, twigs, roots, and bamboo to eat. That’s a lot to feed an elephant, some of which can weigh as much as 15,000 pounds (7,000 kg)!
Female elephants spend their entire lives in large groups called “herds;” however, male elephants leave their herds when they are about 13 years old and then live fairly solitary lives.
This photograph was taken at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.