African Elephant

The Facts

  • Genus: Loxodonta
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable
  • Location: Sub-Saharan Africa

African Elephant
African Elephant

The Scoop

The Largest Land Animal

African elephants are the world's largest land animals. Herds of these great beasts wander through 37 countries in Africa. They are easily recognized by their trunk that is used for communication and handling objects. Their ears are very large- larger than those of Asian elephants. These big ears allow them to radiate excess heat. African elephants are divided into two species – savannah elephants, and forest elephants. Savanna elephants are larger than forest elephants, and their tusks curve outwards. The African savanna elephant is found throughout the grassy plains and bush lands of the continent, while the African forest elephant lives the equatorial forests of central and western Africa. 

An African elephant can be up to 13 feet tall…higher than the ceiling in your room.  It weighs between 5000 and 14,000 pounds- as much as a truck! African elephants mainly eat leaves and branches of bushes and trees, but also eat grasses, fruits, and barks. An adult elephant can consume up to 300 pounds of food in a single day.

African elephant populations were severely reduced to its current levels because of hunting. These magnificent beasts now have less room to roam than ever before as expanding human populations convert land for agriculture, settlements and developments.  The World Wildlife Fund is working to strengthen activities against hunting, poaching and to slow down the loss of the African elephant’s natural habitat. You can help by supporting the World Wildlife Fund’s efforts, and also by symbolically adopting an elephant. 

Did You Know?

  • Females play a key role in an elephant herd. The herd is typically composed of up to ten females and their young.
  • Elephants use their trunks for smelling, breathing, trumpeting, drinking, and also for grabbing things. The trunk alone contains about 100,000 different muscles.
  • African elephants have two finger-like features on the end of their trunk that they can use to grab small items
  • African elephants are capable of making a wide variety of vocal sounds, such as grunts, purrs, bellows, whistles, and the obvious trumpeting. Elephants are also capable of making low frequency sounds that we cannot hear.


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