This might go without saying, but here at Stuffed Safari we love animals. Not just the stuffed ones either. Everyone who works here has at least one pet, and most of us have more than one. When we’re not busy selling stuffed animals, we love to learn about the real-life counterparts to the plush toys we sell. We thought that you, our readers, might find it interesting to explore some interesting facts about some of our favorite animals too. That’s why we decided to start The Wild Side. It’s a blog series that gives captivating educational information about some of our favorite animals.
This week, we will be exploring the African elephant. This post is packed full of African elephant information.
African elephants (Loxodonta africana) make their home in Central, Eastern, Southern, and West Africa. Their domain spans over 37 different countries. You can find these large mammals anywhere from deserts, miombo and mopane woodlands, dense forests, and Sahelian scrublands. These majestic creatures have been around a long time, their roots dating back as far as the Middle Pliocene. As one of the most beloved and recognized animals in the world, celebrated in cultures all around the world, African elephants are just as interesting as they are popular.
Elephants are big—really big. The can grow as tall as eleven feet in height, measure twenty-four feet in length, and weigh as much as six tons. That’s 12,000 pounds! You don’t want one to step on your toe.
Perhaps one of their most noticeable traits is their long trunks. An elephant’s trunk is a super-long nose. Elephants use them for smelling and breathing, of course, but they also use them to grab things, make loud trumpeting sounds, and even for drinking water. To protect their skin from the harshness of the sun, African elephants will suck up water through their noses and spray it over their entire body to coat themselves in a protective layer of dust. Their trunks are so nimble; they contain approximately 100,00 different muscles.
Male and female African elephants both possess long, pointy bones called tusks that protrude from their teeth where incisors are found in other mammals. They use to dig and strip bark from trees. Male elephants will use their hard tusks to battle one other. These tusks are made from ivory, a valuable substance. This, unfortunately, has made African elephants a prime target for hunters and poachers. Because of this, some African elephant populations are endangered.
As you might have guessed, African elephants need to eat a lot of food to maintain their sheer size. Elephants are herbivores, meaning they eat plants. They prefer to eat things like fruit, bark, grasses, and roots—pretty much anything they can dig up with those tusks and root out with those trunks. An adult elephant can eat as much as 300 pounds of food in one day! Most of their chewing is done with four massive molars (teeth). Each one of these teeth weigh about eleven pounds. While human beings only lose and replace their teeth once in their lifetime, elephants will do this between four and six times.
Here’s some African elephant information for you: African elephants are very smart animals. With a large neocortex, a trait shared with apes, some dolphin species, and humans, elephants express a wide variety of behaviors. Emotions such as grief at the loss of a fellow elephant are not uncommon to observe. Elephants are so sophisticated you can observe them demonstrate compassion, self-awareness, and even sense of humor.
In the face of many hardships, the elephant population carries on all over Africa. Despite not being native to North America, elephants are quite popular. It’s one of the reason we at Stuffed Safari carry so many different Elephant Stuffed Animals. Take a look at our selection and bring home an elephant plush companion of your very own.
I hope you enjoyed this step into The Wild Side with African elephant information. Subscribe to our blog to explore more animals in the future. Feel free to leave any comments or questions in the comment section below. And, as always, thank you for reading.