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African Elephant

Afrikaans name: Olifant

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African Elephant

Photo © Steven Herbert

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African Elephant

Photo © Steven Herbert

Loxodonta africana

Interesting facts about Elephants

The African Elephant is the largest land mammal in the world. Males measure up to 4 metres at the shoulder and may weigh up to 6,000 kg.

An elephant may live up to 60 years and is likely to die from starvation. Elephants replace their molars 6 times and after the last set of teeth has worn down their starvation is likely to set in.

An elephants tusks are formed from their incisors. Elephants use their tusks for various things including fighting, digging for roots, stripping bark off trees and for defence from predators. Tusks continue to grow throughout their life span but are also worn down.

Both male and female elephants have tusks.

Elephants are included in the Big 5 which also includes Leopard, Lion, Cape Buffalo and Rhino.

Next time you are in Kruger National Park be sure to visit the elephant museum at Letaba camp. It has an amazing collection elephant related exhibits.

Elephant herds are led by a female who is referred to as the matriarch (by humans not by other elephants). There are likely to be a number of other females and their calves in the herd. Male calves will leave the herd around puberty and will form loose herds with other males. Older males are often seen by themselves.

An elephants brain can weigh 5kg.

African Elephant

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - Imagine having to eat over 200 kg of plants and drink around 200 litres of water each day? That is what an African Elephant has to do to keep going.

African Elephants drink at Renosterpan in Kruger National Park

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - A herd of elephants drink at Renosterpan in Kruger National Park.

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References

List of South African Mammals

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