Elephants are the largest and heaviest mammals on land. Elephants belong to two general family Elephantidae. They are Elephas and Loxodonta. Three species of elephants are living today are the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant and the Asian elephant (also known as the Indian elephant). During the period of ice age there were more, now extinct species, including the elephant-like mammoth and mastodont and the "shovel tuskers", the platybelodon and amebelodon. The elephant's gestation period is 22 months, the longest of any land animal. At birth it is common for an elephant calf to weigh 100 kilograms (225 pounds). They typically live for 50 to 70 years, but the oldest recorded elephant lived for 82 years. The largest elephant ever recorded was shot in Angola in 1956. This male weighed about 24,000 lb (11,000 kg), with a shoulder height of 3.96 meters (13.0 ft), a meter taller than the average male African elephant. The species of elephants are typically grayish in color. Elephant skin is thick and much wrinkled. Usually elephants wallow in mud holes of colored soil. Wallowing is an important behaviour in elephant society. Not only is it important for socialization, but the mud acts as a sunscreen, protecting their skin from harsh ultraviolet radiation. Although tough, an elephant's skin is very sensitive. Without regular mud baths to protect it from burning, as well as from insect bites and moisture loss, an elephant's skin would suffer serious damage. After bathing, the elephants will usually use its trunk to blow soil on its body to help dry and bake on its new protective coat. As elephants are limited to smaller and smaller areas, there is less water available, and local herds will often come too close over the right to use these limited resources. Elephants have brown eyes and they are color blind. Vision is limited in strong, direct sunlight and better in the woods and shadows. The large flapping ears of elephants are also very important for temperature regulation. Elephant ears are made of a very thin layer of skin stretched over cartilage and a rich network of blood vessels. On hot days, elephants will flap their ears constantly, creating a slight breeze. This breeze cools the surface blood vessels, and then the cooler blood gets circulated to the rest of the animal's body. The hot blood entering the ears can be cooled as

Both male and female African elephants have tusks. 60% of the food leaves the elephants¶ body undigested. fruit. they have to make up for their digestive system's lack of efficiency in volume. but only male Asian elephants do. but because of the increased rarity of elephants. They spend most of their time eating. digging. flowers. feeding. Elephants are herbivores and eat up to 100 different kinds of plants. some are right tusked while others are left tusked. and the trunks can often be seen held up high trying to determine smells in the air. seeds. and thorns. They move quietly because of the soft pads in their feet. Elephants¶ tusks are the major source of ivory. touching. They suck water up their trunk. playing and greeting. The elephants¶ trunks are actually their noses. All members of the family assist and protect the youngsters. Their hearing is keen and they can detect rumblings from miles away.leaves. Elephants need 18 . The mother elephants look after their young longer than any other animal except humans. Elephants usually walk about 2 to 4 miles an hour. squirting. The most obvious characteristic of elephants is the trunks. fighting. All parts of the plant are eaten . Smell is the most important sense for the elephant. just like human fingerprints. they will swim underwater. roots. Every elephant has different ears. However. Just like humans are right handed or left handed. Elephants can also swim very well. but the elephants can use them like extra hands. throwing things. Elephants live together in family groups with a matriarch (wise. feeling. males are encouraged to leave and can be found in small bachelor groupings or on their own. twigs. and young males up to age 13 are included. drinking. large teeth coming out of their upper jaws. Tusks are used for digging. raising their trunks to act as a snorkel. The elephants¶ tusks are actually their front teeth. The one they favor has been ground down and is shorter from the constant use. eating. hunting and ivory trade is now illegal. bring their trunk to their mouth to squirt the water inside.much as 10 °F (6 °C) before returning to the body. then holding the end closed. so are elephants. Babies will follow their . experienced female) as the head. about 16 hours a day. An adult elephant can consume 300 to 600 pounds of food a day. Daughters and sisters stay together. picking up things. The trunks are used for breathing. fighting and lifting. Elephants also have tusks. fighting.24 gallons of water every day. but they can reach 24 miles an hour at full speed. bark. Because elephants use only 40% of what they eat. and in deep water.

Elephants can be trained to serve in various ways such as to carry heavy loads. A recent theory holds that elephants. The Carthaginian general Hannibal took elephants across the Alps when he was fighting the Romans. They travel and migrate to food and water sources. Elephants are very intelligent animals. They communicate with very low and long-ranging subsonic tones. which share an ancestor with sea cows. In the wild. War elephants were used by armies in the Indian sub-continent. elephants exhibit complex social behavior and strong family bonds. elephants do not have a permanent home. Hannibal probably used a now extinct third African species. But. Elephants are really smart animals. Babies drink milk from their mothers up to 4 years. Adolescent males determine their own ranking order through head-butting contests. Most females will stay with their original natal group for a lifetime. . Social hierarchy in calf-cow groups is based on size and age. It has been recently discovered that the species can still swim using their trunks in that manner. Their intelligence combined with their great strength makes elephants very useful servants to man. evolved from animals which spent most of their time in the water or even under water. and by the Persian empire. smaller than its two southern cousins. the North African elephant. or aunties. using their trunks like snorkels for breathing. although his horse cavalry was quite successful. with the largest and oldest females at the top and the smallest and youngest coming in last. This benefit was adopted by Hellenistic Ptolemaic and Seleucid kingdoms. Hannibal brought too few elephants to be of much military use. where strength and temperament are as important as size and age. sisters. and are guided by trunk touches. Elephants have been used in various capacities by humans.mothers. hunt for tigers and even fight.

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