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<About the author>

Common Name

 

 

Latin name

 

 

Description

 

 

Savannah

Elephant

 

 

Loxodonta africana africana

 

 

Unmistakable huge animal probably Africa’s most famous animal. Males weighing average of 3000kg females 2-2200 kg. Males can be up to 4m tall at shoulder females less at 3.3m. Males more massively built than females and tend to be loners or in bachelor herds. Breeding herds consisting mainly of related females with young, un-related males visiting breeding females throughout the year. Keystone species responsible for much of the habitat changes ranging widely when food is not abundant. Herds are led by a matriarch and keep in touch with a variety of calls including ultrasound rumbles which carry great distances. Prefers grass when available after the rains but will browse on all manner of trees and shrubs and will decimate farm crops if allowed to. Young are born after 22 months gestation. Young bulls normally leave the family herd at about 12 to 13 years but do not reach sexual maturity until they are about 27 years old. Both sexes when mature have a “musth” season when they secrete a liquid substance from the temporal gland to the rear of the eye. In the male this is accompanied by a constantly dripping penis and a huge increase in testosterone which makes bulls in musth very dangerous. Their first musth does not last long but as they get older it can last for 3 months of the year. You can usually tell the tracks of a bull in musth as they have the tell tale drip marks in each footprint. Elephants have 6 sets of teeth that erupt one by one at the back of the jaw and move forward to replace the worn out teeth at the front of the jaw. The last set usually arriving at around 60 years of age. This last sets then wears down until eventually the animal can not feed. In places where there are rivers with thick floating vegetation bull elephants will wade out and take advantage of the lush vegetation. It is rare to find females in such situations however as they will not leave their young at risk whilst wading in deep water.