The African elephant is the largest existing land mammal in Africa. It's trunk has two 'fingers' for gripping, unlike its relative, the Asian elephant, that only has the one.
What you should know about the African elephant
African elephants are nocturnal vegetarians. They cannot sweat and therefore seek their food during the cooler night-time, resting during the day. They visit a water point once a day and drink up to 200 litres. Grass, leaves, twigs and tree bark are all on their vegetarian menu plan, of which they eat around 150 kg daily.
Compared to the Asian elephant, whereby only the bulls have visible tusks, these are found on both the male and female African elephant. They can even reach three metres long in a bull. African savannah elephants also have giant ears. These serve them as a practical cooling system: When it's hot, they pump blood into their ears, and they cool it down by flapping them back and forth, then letting the blood flow back into the body.
Ivory – much sought after by hunters
The tusks that the African elephant uses for unearthing waterholes and roots, and scraping off tree bark or for defense, have always been very popular objects for hunters. Musical instruments, jewelery or decorative items can be made out of ivory, which is also called 'white gold' because of its high value. Only through massive restrictions on the trade of ivory will we be able to get the levels of the endangered elephants back up to an adequate level.
Fast runners on soft soles
Even though the giant elephants can weigh in at up to six tonnes, then can nevertheless reach speeds of up to 40 kilometres per hour. Humans, only capable of reaching speeds half as fast, wouldn't stand a chance in competition with them. They even remain surprisingly quiet when they really put their foot down, since their footpads made of connective and fatty tissue perfectly cushion each and every one of their thuds.
Is it true, that ...?
In addition to their tusks, elephants also have molars which they use to grind plant food. In fact, elephants grow no fewer than five times as many new sets compared to us humans – if we add milk teeth to this, this number even rises to six. While our third set of teeth is artificial, elephants are quite happy to feed away with their natural biters for quite a while longer.
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Our elephants have their bathing periods on Saturdays and Sundays.
From October to Easter between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m.