The Elephant

The African Elephant is the heaviest land animal
in the world. A fully grown bull elephant is about
3 metres tall and weighs about 3,000 kilograms
i.e. the weight of 40 grown men. Such a large
animal needs a lot of food. In the course of a
day a fully grown elephant will eat about 50
kilograms of leaves, twigs and branches and
drink 60 to 70 litres of water.- It uses its trunk
for several different purposes: to soak up
water and spray it into its mouth, to feel and
smell things and also as a weapon. The
elephant can grasp objects with its trunk and
break branches of trees. It defends itself with
its long tusks which it also uses to dig up roots
and tubers. Elephant calves have a longer
period of gestation (the time spent growing
inside the mother's body) than any other
mammal: it is 22 months before the baby
elephant is born. A new born elephant is
heavier than a large grown man and stands 84
cm tall. Elephants are found throughout central
Africa but in many countries their numbers are
falling substantially. This is due both to the
cultivation of the forests and grasslands where
they live and to poaching (for the tusks). But
many live in reserves in national parks.