African and Asian Elephant: Life and Character
The elephant, a colossal gentle giant, which unfortunately belongs to the endangered species, what do you know?
The elephant first appeared more than 5 million years ago. Since then, more than 300 species of elephants have existed, including the mastodon and the mammoth. But 25 million years ago, an animal almost the size of a pig existed the Moeritherium Believe it or not, this was the ancestor of the elephant. The elephant is now the last survivor of the PROBOSCIDIAE family, also known as the ‘trunk beasts’.
There are three types of elephants:
- The Asian elephant
- The forest elephant
- The African bush elephant
The forest elephants and savanna elephants are also called African elephants.
The African elephant
Its trunk matches the nose and the upper lip. The lips at the end of the trunk are actually ‘the fingers’ of the elephant. Its ivory tusks can reach 3m in length and weigh 60kg. They continue to grow throughout its life. Tusks weighing 30 kg have already become extremely rare with the disappearance of a large number of male elephants. The tusks are of great importance because he defends himself with them, he digs huge wells in search of water. The ears are the elephant’s hearing organ and at the same time its temperature controller. Each ear is approximately 2m² and is traversed by blood vessels. If it flaps its ears, it can lower its temperature to 5 ° C.
The Asian elephant
This one is smaller in stature about 2.5 to 3m, while the African already exceeds 3m. It has smaller ears than the African. He has a convex forehead and smooth skin, while the African has a receding forehead and wrinkled skin. His hind legs have four toes, an African one has three. It has a trunk with a gripping finger and the African has 2. In the African elephant both males and females have tusks and the ivory is much firmer than in an Asian elephant, and the females have no tusks.
The elephant spends most of the day eating (6-8pm). He only has four molars that change six times in his life. His last molars are called ‘wisdom teeth’, just like with us. He eats grass, leaves, roots, bark and fruit (140 kg per day) and he also drinks water (100 liters per day). The elephant needs to bathe and will easily travel 30 kilometers in search of water. After his bath, he smears himself with mud and sand to protect himself from the insects. He sleeps very little: 4 to 5 hours a day. Most of the time he rests upright.
Gardener of the jungle
The elephant occupies a large place in the African landscape. To satisfy his enormous appetite, he leaves traces by serving himself abundantly in nature and thus paving the way for other animals. It only digests half of what it eats and thus feeds many other animals and spreads all kinds of crops. Because it can dig holes to get to the groundwater, other animals can also quench their thirst. His excrement is good fertilizer for the soil. The insects feed on it and lay their eggs in it. Those insects in turn form food for other animals.
The elephant is a very calm animal, it only becomes aggressive when it feels threatened or worried. He will then trumpet and move his ears violently. When he feels good, he makes a sound that lies between growling and purring. It communicates with its peers by trumpeting or emitting infrasonic sounds that can still be perceived up to 10 km away.
An elephant is 22 months pregnant, only the females of course. At birth, a baby elephant weighs about 120 kg. The bond between mother and child is very important, so much so that if the mother disappears, a foster mother is immediately taken care of.
His social life
The elephant community is matriarchal . The oldest female elephant leads the group, she is the matriarch. She manages a herd of 5 to 15 elephants. The males live in isolation in small groups with varying members. They join a flock during mating season. The elephant never abandons his family. Elephants never fight with each other.
An elephant can live for a maximum of 60 years. Unfortunately, not all elephants die of old age.
Many are killed long before that for three reasons:
- the farmers kill them for plundering their crops
- the poachers kill them to sell their ivory tusks
- or … they just kill them to eat their flesh
The elephant is still an endangered species, and yet plays a huge role in Savannah, hopefully poachers will see this one day too.