animated.gif (c) Kitty Roach
The elephant's tusks are long, curved teeth. They are made of ivory. The African bull can grow tusks 6 to 8 feet long.
Elephants have small eyes and a short neck. The tail is small compared to the rest of the body and measures about 3 1/3 feet long with long hairs at the end.
Elephants thick skin is gray and wrinkled. The African elephant has dark gray skin and the Asiatic elephant has light gray skin.
Elephants are the only animal that have a trunk for a nose. The trunk is a combined nose and upper lip. It has no bones. The trunk of an adult elephant is about 5 feet long.
Wild elephants live only in Africa south of the Sahara and in the southern and southeastern parts of Asia. They are found in forests and jungles. Most elephants live in herds. A herd of African elephants may have up to 1,000 members. The Asiatic elephants have only 5 to 60 in their herd. Elephants have no permanent homes. The move to find food and water. A herd may travel over an area of 390 square miles.
To find food elephants must roam large areas. Elephants are vegetarians. They eat about 16 hours every day. They eat grass, shrubs, leaves, roots, bark, branches, fruit, and water plants. Elephants use their tusks to tear bark off trees and to dig up roots and shrubs. They especially like to eat bamboo, berries, coconuts, corn, dates, plums, and sugar cane.
A wild African elephant eats over 770 pounds of food a day. The Asiatic elephant eats about 650 pounds. Elephants in zoos eat about 150 pounds of food each day.
An elephant cow usually has only one calf at a time. After two to four years the mother may have another calf. A newborn calf is about 3 feet tall and weighs about 200 pounds. It drinks its mother's milk for 3 to 4 years. After 6 months the calf begins to eat some solid food. Wild elephants live up to 60 years.
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