African Elephant
Order: Proboscidae
Family: Elephantidae

What do elephants look like?
Elephants are the largest land mammals in the word at an average weight of about 12 to 14 thousand pounds. This weight is distributed to four squishy footpads that leave relatively dainty tracks. Their length is about 20 to 24 feet and their shoulder height is around 10 to 13 feet.

Where in the world can you find elephants?
In the wild, elephants prefer the edge between grassland and forest, especially near rivers. They are also found in deep forests, open savannas, wet marshes, thornbush, and semi-desert scrub.

How do elephants move?
Elephants can leisurely walk 2 to 4 miles in an hour with ease. When running, they can outrun the fastest human sprinter at a blistering pace of 24 miles per hour.

What do elephants eat?
In the wild, they eat plant food from all levels (root, ground, and shrub) including high trees if their agile trunk can reach. At least 50% of their diet is from grasses which is supplemented with leaves, twigs, roots, and small amounts of fruits, seeds, and flowers. An adult elephant will eat 300 to 600 pounds of food a day.

Are elephants endangered animals?
Under the Endangered Species Act, the African elephant is listed as a threatened species and the Asian elephant is listed as an endangered species. "Endangered" means a species is considered in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, and "threatened" means a species is considered in danger of becoming endangered. This protection prohibits elephant parts and products from being imported into the United States except under certain conditions.

What kind of behavior does an Elephant exhibit?
The activity for this virtual zoo exhibit involves observing and recording elephant behavior. Click on the activity tab to learn about observing animal behavior.

Copyright 2006 by John Pecore, all rights reserved.
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Last update: June 2, 2007