Overview of African Elephants

Overview of African Elephants

Animals are multi - cellular, eukaryotic organisms belonging to the kingdom Animalia. With the passage of time, the animal body has evolved essentially to cope up with the changing environment. If you consider the size here, elephants are the forerunner. Amongst all the African elephants, belonging to the genus Loxodonta are the largest consisting of two species-the African bust elephant and the relatively smaller African forest elephant. Both of these species bear long tusks, which is actually a modification of the back pair of molar teeth.

African elephants were historically found south of the Sahara Desert to the south tip of Africa, from the Atlantic (western) coast of Africa to the Indian Ocean in the east. Although these animals survive for a long period, hence their habitat changes continually. Elephants are social animals as they belong in herds consisting up to 200 elephants, even 1000 during the monsoon. The society is based on social matriarchal system with the oldest female leading a clan of 9 to 11 elephants.

Primarily herbivore, the beasts do feed on roots, bark, grasses and fruits. Justifying its huge size, the African elephants consume 220 to 660 pounds of food and 50 gallons water every day. The mammoth body size renders them invulnerable to wild animals, though humans are the only predators.

Another striking feature of the elephants is the presence of more than 2000 genes for smells – the most found till date, which is twice the olfactory genes of domestic dogs and almost five times that of humans. They are so efficient as to differentiate between the Masai and Kamba simply by their scents.




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