7 Facts About African Bush Elephants
7 Facts about African Bush Elephants: The African Bush Elephant, also known as the African Savannah Elephant, is categorized among the famous Big Five animals that are highly sought after by tourists in Africa.
The African Bush Elephant is considered to be the largest land living animal in the world. This species is bigger than the African forest elephants, as well as Asian elephants. It is distributed across 37 African countries and inhabit forests, savannah grassland and woodlands, wetlands and agricultural land. Here are some facts that you may want to know about the African Bush Elephant;
- African Bush Elephants are actually very social mammals that live and travel in herds consisting of cows and their offspring. Adult males, normally referred to as bulls, live alone in small bachelor groups.
- The African Bush Elephants are scientifically referred to as Loxodonta Africana. They are characterized by their highly skillful trunk, long curved tusks and massive/large ears. Both males and females have tusks which start to show once they are 1 to 3 years old, and these tusks grow throughout life.
- Their tusks grow from deciduous or milk teeth known as tushes that develop in their upper jaws and consist of a crown, root and pulpal cavity, which are completely formed soon after birth. The longest known tusk of an African bush elephant measured 3.51 meters and weighed 117 kilograms.
- They use their trunk for smelling, breathing, detecting vibrations, caressing their young, sucking up water and grasping objects like logs, tree trunks and so much more. The tip of their trunks are comprised of two opposite extensions/fingers, which contribute to their extreme dexterity.
- The maximum lifespan of the African bush elephant is between 70 and 75 years, with a generation length of about 25 years.
- Body weight and height.
African Bush elephants can weigh up to 6000 kilograms, which is about 7 tons and can measure up to 3.3 meters at the shoulder. Adult bulls can reach a shoulder height of up to 4 meters. Elephants attain their maximum stature/height when they complete the development of long-bone epiphyses (top part of the femur bone), which occurs in males around the age of 40 and females at the age of 25.
- Elephants in general are herbivorous animals which goes to say for the African Bush Elephants. Their diet mainly consists of grass, creepers and herbs. The adult African bush elephant can consume up to 150 kilograms of vegetation per day. However, during the dry season their diet also includes leaves and bark. The high levels of calcium found in tree barks aids in the proper development of their bones.
African bush elephants can also consume fruits like papaya, banana, guava, stems and even seeds of maize, sorghum and sugarcane. They also supplement their diet with minerals from termite mounds and mineral licks.
- African Bush Elephants have very large ears which help to regulate excess heat caused by the hot African sun. Their ears are also used to communicate with one another. Their ears are used in conjunction with the soles of their feet and their trunk, and also help them to hear sounds over long distances. On average, an elephant can hear another elephant’s call from as far as 4 kilometers. In some circumstances, their hearing can be increased up to 10 kilometers away.
- Female African bush elephants begin ovulating for the first time at the age of 11 years and are in estrus for 2 to 6 days. In captivity, adult females have an estrous cycle lasting 14 to 15 weeks. African bush elephants mate during the rainy season, and bulls in musth (adult males on heat) cover long distances in search for females and associate with large family groups. African bush elephants have a gestation period of 22 months and usually give birth to one calf every 2 to 3 years.
- The African bush elephant has been listed as a vulnerable species under the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List. Their survival in the wild is being threatened by factors such as; poaching, illegal trade on ivory and other body parts, large-scale deforestation and encroachment on their habitat.
The African bush elephant can be seen by tourists on a game drive in any savannah national park in Africa, with best sightings being in the following national parks; Akagera National Park in Rwanda, Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, and Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda, Masai Mara National Park in Kenya and Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.