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The African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Terry Bailey

Joined January 2011

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Artist's Description

The African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) sometimes known by its other common name as African savanna elephant is the larger of the two species of African elephant the small is known as the African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis).
African bush elephants are considered the largest living terrestrial animal, reaching up to sizes of 3.96 m (13.0 ft) tall at the shoulders with weight sometime in excess of 5.5 tonnes (12,000 lb) for males. Females are much smaller reaching sizes of 2.7 metres (8.9 ft) tall weighing about 3 tonnes (6,600 lb).
Loxodonta africana have very large ears, used to radiate excess heat, and a trunk, which is an extension of the upper lip and nose with two opposing extensions at its end, this differs from the the Asian elephant which only has one. The trunk is used for communication and handling objects such as food. African elephants have bigger tusks than Asian elephants, these large modified incisors which grow throughout an elephant’s lifetime occurring on both male and female elephants are used in fights, marking, feeding, and digging.

Loxodonta africana are herbivors eating the different vegetation found in Africa’s varied terrians and habitats. Loxodonta africana typically ingests an average of 225 kg of vegetable matter daily, which is defecated without being fully digested. That, combined with the long distances that it can cover daily in search of more food, contributes notably to the dispersion of many plant seeds that germinate. An elephants needs to drink over 190 litres per day.

Herds are made up of related females and their young, directed by the eldest female, called matriach. Infrequently, an adult male goes with them, but those usually leave the herd when reaching adolescence to form bachelor herds with other elephants of the same age. Later they lead a solitary life, approaching the female herds only during the mating season.

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