Sunday, 30 December 2012

African Elephant

African elephants (Ndovu in Swahili) (loxodonta Africana) are the species of elephants in the genus Loxodonta derived from a Greek word meaning ‘oblique-sided tooth’. African elephants are bigger than Asian Elephants with males weighs about 4,700–6,048 kg (10,000–13,330 lb) while a female weighs about 2,160–3,232 kg (4,800–7,130 lb).

Elephants have four molars; each weighs about 5 kg (11 lb) and measures about 30 cm (12 in) long. As the front pair wears down and drops out in pieces, the back pair shifts forward, and two new molars emerge in the back of the mouth. Elephants replace their teeth six times. At about 40 to 60 years of age, the elephant no longer has teeth and will likely die of starvation, a common cause of death.
African Elephant
Their tusks are teeth; the second set of incisors becomes the tusks. They are used for digging for roots and stripping the bark off trees for food, for fighting each other during mating season, and for defending themselves against predators. The tusks weigh from 23–45 kg (51–99 lb) and can be from 1.5–2.4 m (5–8 ft) long. Elephants are gregarious and form small family groups consisting of an older matriarch and several generations of relatives.

These family groups are often visited by mature males, who check for females in estrus. Several interrelated family groups may inhabit an area and know each other well. When they meet at watering holes and feeding places, they greet each other affectionately.
Smell is the most highly developed sense, but sound deep growling or rumbling noises is the principle means of communication. Some researchers think that each individual has its signature growl by which it can be distinguished.

Sometimes elephants communicate with an ear-splitting blast when in danger or alarmed, causing others to form a protective circle around the younger members of the family group. Elephants make low-frequency calls, many of which, though loud, are too low for humans to hear. These sounds allow elephants to communicate with one another at distances of five or six miles.

Some African elephant facts;

African Elephant,Samburu

  • The elephant is distinguished by its high level of intelligence, interesting behavior, methods of communication and complex social structure, as they share a trait also shared by humans, apes and certain dolphin species.
  • Elephants seem to be fascinated with the tusks and bones of dead elephants, fondling and examining them. The myth that they carry them to secret "elephant burial grounds," however, has no factual base.
  • Elephants are very social, frequently touching and caressing one another and entwining their trunks.
  • Elephants demonstrate concern for members of their families they take care of weak or injured members and appear to grieve over a dead companion.

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