Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Mammals » Elephants: Proboscidea - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Elephants And People, Asian Elephant (elephas Maximus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, CONSERVATION STATUS

Elephants: Proboscidea - Savanna Elephant (loxodonta Africana): Species Accounts

habitat live head trunk

Physical characteristics: The savanna elephant, the better-known of the two African elephants, weighs anywhere from 4.4 to 7.7 tons (4 to 7 metric tons), with a shoulder height of 8.2 to 13 feet (2.5 to 4 meters). The savanna elephant's head is not as high as the Asian species and has just a single dome; their ears are larger and fold back at the top. The trunk has two fingers on its end. Both sexes have tusks, but the females have smaller tusks.


Geographic range: Savanna elephants live in Mali, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.

Adult African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) and calf drinking water (© St. Meyers/OKAPIA/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Habitat: There are 250,000 to 350,000 savanna elephants living in Africa. Savanna elephants also live in dry woodlands as well as on savannas, which are a combination of woodland and grassland.


Diet: Adults consume 220 to 660 pounds (100 to 300 kilograms) of plant food daily, which they chew with their molars. These elephants tend to spend the hottest parts of the day in the wooded areas and graze in the grassland as the temperatures cool down. Savanna elephants drink up to 53 gallons (200 liters) of water each day.


Behavior and reproduction: A female cow will signal her readiness to mate by making loud sounds through her trunk. She also has a special courtship walk, in which she holds her head high while looking back over her shoulder. Gestation period lasts twenty-two months. Newborns weigh 265 pounds (120 kilograms). Males are competitive and solitary. Savanna elephants live in a matriarchal society of family units within the larger social structure, with up to seventy elephants in a multi-family group. Females remain bonded for life.


Savanna elephants and people: The savanna elephant is at higher risk of habitat loss than the forest elephant because it prefers environments similar to those that humans prefer.


Conservation status: Because the savanna elephant was not recognized as a species separate from the African forest elephant until 2001, both species are still considered together in legal terms. Excessive hunting and habitat loss has caused the African elephant to be listed as Endangered by the IUCN. ∎

Elephants: Proboscidea - Forest Elephant (loxodonta Cyclotis): Species Accounts [next] [back] Elephants: Proboscidea - Asian Elephant (elephas Maximus): Species Accounts

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