The African Giant
The elephant is the largest animal that lives on land. Only some kinds of whales are larger. A male African elephant can be four meters tall and can weigh six tons. The female is smaller. They have the largest ears and teeth (their tusks) among animals.
A trunk is very useful: it can uproot a heavy tree and it can also pick a grape without breaking it. An elephant can smell, touch, stroke, feed, drink and take a shower with its trunk. The trunk has about 40,000 muscles and it never stops growing and can be more than three meters long.
The elephant is a vegetarian. It eats grass, green leaves, and parts of young trees and bushes. It can eat 300-400 kilos a day and drink 150-200 liters of water.
The elephants are very intelligent animals and they have a very good memory.
The leader of the herd, most often a female, is usually the wisest and the strongest.
Men kill elephants because they have ivory. A lot of things can be made of it: bracelets, necklaces, piano keys, chopsticks, billiard balls. Their hide is used to make bags, cases, boots and gloves.
In 1989, the governments of 79 countries agreed to ban all trade in ivory. Unfortunately, as long as people buy ivory, poaching will continue and elephants will be in danger.
Some interesting facts
1. Female Indian elephant doesn’t have tusks.
2. The elephant’s trunk can hold about 8 liters of water.
3. Elephants are very friendly animals.
4. They are able to smile.
5. Worldwide people celebrated The Day of Elephants on September 22.
6. Elephants live for about 70-80 years.
7. Their pregnancy lasts for about 2 years.
8. Elephants do not sweat.
9. Most often trainers are killed by elephants in circuses. In the early 20th century in the United States several elephants were executed. For example, in 1903, circus elephant Topsy was sentenced to death because she crushed three people.
10. Elephants are born toothless and over a lifetime they change their teeth more than 5 times.
11. The famous ancient general Hannibal, of Carthage in North Africa, led a battle company that included 37 elephants into the Alps on his way to fight the Roman army.