Elephants at sunset

African Elephant

A Gentle Giant

Habitat and Characteristics

African elephants live in the wild in Africa, south of the Sahara Desert. They eat a vegetarian diet of mostly roots, bark, grasses, and fruit. An adult African elephant can be up to 11 feet tall at the shoulder. They can be 13 - 16 feet long and weigh 3½ to 6½ tons. They can live to be 60 - 70 years old.


African elephants drinking water

African elephants are very social animals. They have a complex society that is based on a family unit. Each family unit has approximately 10 individual elephants, composed of closely related females (cows) and their calves. Separate family units join together to form a group. After male elephants reach puberty, they tend to form alliances with other males. Elephants are also very nurturing animals. Two elephants will wrap their trunks together to give each other a hug.

African elephants are very intelligent. They communicate with deep growling or rumbling noises. Elephants also communicate using noises that are too low for humans to hear, yet very loud. Their noises can be heard 5 or 6 miles away. Smell is their most highly developed sense.


Quick Facts

Here are a few interesting facts:

Quick Facts

Elephant Trunk Facts

Unfortunately, the African elephant and other species of elephants are hunted and killed for their ivory tusks. There are several wildlife organizations that focus their efforts on conservation of elephants.

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