Elephants are the largest land animals on Earth. They have characteristic long noses, or trunks; large, floppy ears; and wide, thick legs. There are two species of elephant. The Asian elephant and the African elephant live on separate continents and have many unique features. There are several subspecies that belong to one or the other of these two main species, though there is disagreement over just how many subspecies there are. African elephants live in sub-Saharan Africa, the rain forests of Central and West Africa and the Sahel desert in Mali. Asian elephants live in Nepal, India and Southeast Asia in scrub forests and rain forests.
Elephants eat grasses, roots, fruit and bark. They use their tusks to pull the bark from trees and dig roots out of the ground. Elephants are herbivores, which means they feed on plants. They eat roots, leaves, grasses, tree branches, and tree bark. They also love to eat fruit such as berries, mangoes and coconuts. By using their trunks they tear off even the strongest tree branches.
They spend 15 – 16 hours a day on eating and consume 140 – 270 kg These animals drink water by using their long trunks to suck up about 14 liters of water at a time, then pouring into their mouths. They drink up to 200 liters of water a day, but can go up to four days without water and will use their tusks to dig wells if necessary, an elephant can smell water from 5 km away. This is the elephants nose, they have an amazing sense of smell, which is as good as a bloodhound.
However the trunk is much more than just a nose it contains about 100,000 different muscles units but six major muscle groups, it can grow to 2 meters long and weight up to 140 kgs. This long nose is used for not only for smelling, but also to breath with, siphoning water with to allow them to squirt it into their mouth to drink, dushing themselves, and exploring thing with. Also a very important function is eating with, they can pull down branches with them but also very delicate movements like picking a berry. They also use them to great and touch each other. It is like a human are or hand they even have two fingerlike features on the end of their trunk that they can use to grab small items. Elephants also use their trunks to help lift or nudge babies over an obstacle or rescue an elephant stuck in the mud.
Elephant trunks can get very heavy. It is not uncommon to see elephants resting them over a tusk!
Elephants cry, play, have incredible memories, and laugh!
Elephants are sensitive fellow animals where if a baby complains, the entire family will rumble and go over to touch and caress it.
Elephants have greeting ceremonies when a friend that has been away for some time returns to the group.
Elephants grieve at a loss of a stillborn baby, a family member, and in many cases other elephants.
Elephants don’t drink with their trunks, but use them as “tools” to drink with. This is accomplished by filling the trunk with water and then using it as a hose to pour it into the elephant’s mouth.
Interestingly, the Asian elephant is more closely related to the extinct mammoth than to the African elephant.
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