The African Elephant is the largest land mammal. Male African elephants can reach a height of 4 m (13 ft) and weigh 7,000 kg (15,000 lb). They have a long trunk used for many purposes, for grasping objects and taking up water. Their incisors grow into tusks, which serve as tools for moving things and digging and as weapons for fighting.
Water is essential to regulation of body temperature, so an elephant drinks 150 litres a day. To keep cool, they also gently flap their ears to expose shallow blood vessels on the underside.
From our nearby position, there was so much water moving – it sounded almost like a toilet flushing.
We were told that the elephant eats up to 300kg of plant material a day – digesting only half of that. The remaining material winds up in their excrement – which contains sharp thorns and twigs. We were told that you shouldn’t run over it with your vehicle or risk puncturing your tires! (Talk about a cast iron stomach.)
Because of their size, predators such as lions, tigers, hyenas and wild dogs usually keep their distance – targeting only the young elephants (or “calves”).
How close did we get to these animals on safari? CLOSE.
About the blogger:
Jeanne Treat is the author of the Dark Birthright Trilogy, a saga that takes place in 17th century Scotland, England, and the Colonies. You can read about it online at: http://www.DarkBirthrightSaga.com