African Elephant Interesting Facts
Are you looking for African Elephant Interest Facts? The African Elephant is a beautiful creature and the largest land mammal in the world. When talking about an African Elephant, there are actually two subspecies – the African Savannah Elephant and The African Forest Elephant. Unfortunately, both are endangered.
The African Forest Elephant is on the critically endangered list. In contrast, the African Savannah Elephant is on the regular endangered list. Keep reading to learn more about these incredible creatures, including African Elephant interesting facts, and how you can help save them
What is an African Elephant?
African Elephants consist of two subspecies of Elephants – the African Forest and The African Savannah. They are the largest land mammals on earth, and are also larger than the other most popular elephant, the Asian Elephant.
African Elephants are what are known as Keystone Species. A Keystone Species (also known as ecosystem engineers) is a species that plays a critical role in its ecosystem. Being an essential part of their habitat is one of the reasons why their presence on the endangered species list is so upsetting. Here are a couple of ways African Elephants are essential to their environment:
Elephant dung contains seeds that they have ingested. Their bowel movements help to spread these seeds which will eventually blooms into plants across the vast area they have traversed.
Elephants uproot trees and eat saplings, creating open space for Zebras and other animals to roam, live and thrive.
Elephants dig up dry riverbeds with their tusks in the dry season, making watering holes for multiple species.
Where do African Elephants Live?
Do you want to know more about the habitat for African Elephants? African elephants can be found in a total of 23 countries.
They live in many areas, including wooded savannas, open areas, forests, and deserts. Some countries they can be found in include South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.
How are African Elephants Endangered?
There are a few different reasons the African Elephant is endangered. However, the two biggest reasons are related to poaching and habitat loss. With the world becoming more developed, these animals have less space to live in.
Also, even though it is illegal, poaching ivory is still a huge problem. The illicit ivory trade is a thriving business that poses a huge threat to the elephant population.
How much does the African Elephant Weigh?
The African Elephant has two subspecies – The African Savannah and the African Forest. One interesting fact is that the African Elephants weight differs between the subspecies .
The African Savannah is the largest elephant (making them also the largest land mammal). They can grow to weigh more than 13,000 pounds (6.5 tons). The African Forest Elephant is on the smaller side, weighing just under 6,000 pounds (just under 3 tons).
What do African Elephants Eat?
African Elephants have a simple diet of bark, roots, grasses, and fruit. Although this does not seem to be an impressive diet, they can eat up to 300 pounds of food in one day.
How many African Elephants are left in the wild?
Although it is difficult to get an exact number, the number of African Elephants left in the wild is estimated to be between 415,000 – 485,000. Although that seems like a high number, there are other factors to their endangered status to consider.
It is estimated that about 30,000 elephants are killed by poachers every year. Gestation takes 2 years and only produces one calf. Therefore, wild breeding is not a great effective at exceeding the amount of Elephants lost yearly.
African Elephant vs. Asian Elephant: What is the difference?
One of the biggest differences between African Elephants and Asian Elephants is where they live. African Elephants live mainly in Africa, but Asian Elephants live in 13 countries across South and Southeast Asia.
Besides location, their appearance is also different. Asian elephants have a divot line running up their head, which creates the appearance of a twin dome. African elephants have a rounded head. Finally, all African Elephants have tusks, whereas only the male Asian Elephant can grow one.
10 African Elephant Interesting Facts
Are you looking for more? Keep reading for 10 fun and interesting African Elephant Facts! Learn more about African Elephant behavior, African Elephant Gestation, and African Elephant offspring. With out further ado, lets dive in!
1. Their Teeth Can Be Measured In Pounds
Elephants have huge teeth. In fact, they have four molars that weigh 11 pounds each and can grow to be 12 inches long.
2. Their lifespan can be compared to that of a human.
Elephants can live to be 70 years old.
3. They Have more than 66X the Amount of Muscles Than People
Humans have more than 600 muscles in their bodies. African Elephants have 40,000 just in their trunks!
4. Gestation Takes Almost 2 Years
Elephants have the longest gestation period of any mammal at 22 months. They also only give birth every 4 – 6 years.
5. Tusks Grow Forever
There are many interesting things about their tusks, like the fact that if they are damaged, they will stay this way forever. If it breaks off, they will not grow another tusk. However, they also never stop growing. An enormous tusk can be a sign of an older elephant.
6. They Spend More Than Half Their Day Eating
African Elephants eat for 12 – 18 hours of their day. They can eat up to 300 pounds of plants, trees, and fruit every single day.
7. They Use Natural Sunscreen
Elephants will bathe in natural bodies of water and then cover themselves in sand and mud. This creates a natural sunscreen that will protect their skin from the hot African sun.
8. They Communicate Through Taste, Touch, and Smell
Communication through elephants is done through taste, touch, and smell. For instance, elephants will greet one another with their trunks outstretched, they will also smell the air for clues.
9. They Make Sounds Humans Do Not Hear
Elephants can also make infrasonic sounds that humans can not hear. Humans can typically only hear sounds of 20 hertz and above, but elephants can make calls as low as 15 hertz.
10. Elephants never forget
The area of the brain that is associated with memory, the temporal lobe, is larger than a humans. Elephants have been known to remember people, items or places for years.
How you can help African Elephants
The African Elephant is a keystone species that is also endangered. If you are interested in helping them, you can start by donating time or money to wonderful organizations like the African Wildlife Foundation. This organization helps through education, fighting climate change, and working against poachers.
Another way to support the African Elephants is to purchase items from brands that give back. Soctuary sells fun animal socks that give back. Their Elephant Socks are a great example of this. 10% of all purchases are donated to organizations like the African Wildlife Foundation.
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