Just the Facts: African Elephants

Just the Facts: African Elephants

  • Elephants are the largest land animals.

  • Female elephants are cows. They can be 7-9 feet tall!

  • Male elephants are bulls. They can be 9-13 feet tall!

  • The biggest bulls can weigh 13,000 pounds.

  • An elephant’s tusks are actually long teeth.

  • The elephant’s trunk is a long nose. The trunk helps elephant breathe, eat, smell, drink, grasp, fight, and “talk.”

  • Elephants eat leaves, buds, twigs, fruit, and grasses.

  • They are vegetarians.

  • Elephants can live up to 70 years old.

  • Baby elephants weigh about 200 pounds when they are born.

  • Elephants live in groups of 9-11 animals. These groups are sisters and their children.

  • African elephants are very endangered. They are hunted for their ivory tusks. They are killed because they sometimes eat villagers’ crops.

  • Many elephants in Africa live in parks where they are protected.

  • Scientists from the North Carolina Zoo are studying elephants in Cameroon. They track elephants and stick them with darts. The darts make them go to sleep for a while. The scientists put large satellite collars on the elephants. The collars send signals that tell where the elephants are moving.

    Think About…

  • How large do you think a collar for an elephant would be? Can you cut a piece of yarn that is long enough to go around an elephant’s neck?

  • Why does it help scientists to know where elephant herds are located?

  • Could it help people in villages to know where elephant herds are traveling?

  • How can people protect elephants from poachers?

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