There are three kinds of elephant — the African forest elephant (Central and west Africa), the African savanna elephant (East and South Africa) and the Asian elephant, which lives in India and Southeast Asia.
African elephants are the largest land animals, growing as tall as 4 m and Weighing more than 6,000 kg.
Asian elephants are not as large as Altican elephants, and have smaller ears and tusks. They also have one ‘finger’ on the tip of their trunk, while African elephants have two.
The scientific word for an elephant’s trunk is a proboscis. It is used like a hand to put food into the elephant’s mouth, or to suck up water to squirt into its mouth or over its body to keep cool. O’ men the leader of the herd senses danger, she lifts he, trunk and sniffs the air — then warns the others 6y using her trunk to give a loud blast called c trumpet. If an intruder comes too close, she will roll down her trunk, throw back her ears, hor iler head and charge at up to 50 km/h.
Elephants are very intelligent animals, with the biggest brain of all land animals. They also have very good memories.
Female elephants, called cows, live with their calves and younger bulls (males) in herds of 20 to 30 animals. Older bulls usually live alone.
Once a year, bull elephants go into a state called musth (said `muse), when male hormones make them very wild and dangerous.
Elephants usually live for about 70 years.
When an elephant dies, its companions seem to mourn and cry.
Elephants use their trunks like snorkels when crossing deep rivers.
Platybelodon, which lived up to 14 million years ago, had huge, shovel-like lower teeth for scooping up and cutting water plants, and a short, broad trunk.
Remains of 91-cm tall elephants were found on Malta.
The last woolly mammoths were a dwarf species that died out less than 7000 years ago.
Two million years ago, Deinotherium may have used its curled tusks for scraping bark from trees.
The elephant Gomphotheres had four straight tusks, and lived in Europe, Africa and Pakistan.
Forest-dwelling Anancus had straight tusks up to 4 m long, which it used for digging up roots.
At one time, more commercial ivory came from frozen mammoths in Siberia than from modern elephants.
Some Stone Age Siberian people built huts from the tusks and long bones of the mammoths they hunted.
Mastodons had smaller bodies and tusks than mammoths, and had a different diet.
One of the earliest-known elephant ancestors, Moeritherium, lived a ho 38 million years ago.