Elephants are the largest animals on earth. There are two kinds of elephants, African elephants and Asian elephants. Both the species of elephants used to subsist in great numbers around Africa and parts of Asia. At present, both of these calm giants are dying out. Twenty five years ago, there were about 1.3 million elephants in Africa, but currently it’s expected that there are about 500,000. In Asia, the amount of elephants left is even lesser than Africa. The reason for the danger of extinction of this giant species is the over hunting of elephants for ivory trade. Fortunately, much effort is being made to ban the ivory trade and regulations are made to restrict the hunting of elephants from the states of African and Asia.
The Asian elephant, Elephas Maximus, has a huge arched head with comparatively tiny ears, a domed back and a single finger like protuberance that’s situated in the tip of their trunk. An Asian elephant has five toes on the front of their feet and four on the back. African elephants Loxodonta Africana have a straight back, huge ears, and two trunk fingers. The molar teeth of the African elephants have peculiar shaped ridges; the ridges of an African elephant’s teeth are coarser and fewer than those of the Asian elephant. The African elephant has only four toes on the front feet and three on the back. Interestingly, it has one more vertebra in the lumbar section of the backbone.
Generally the elephants are grayish to brownish in colour. Elephants naturally attain puberty at thirteen or fourteen years of age. They have offspring up till they get about fifteen. Its long trunk, huge head with large flat ears and columnar legs describe this gigantic creature. An elephant’s trunk is a mix of the nose and upper lip, is a very sensitive organ with over 100,000 muscle units. Elephants don’t use their trunks for drinking, but use them as”tools” to drink with. The act of drinking is accomplished by filling the trunk with water and then using it as a hose to pour it into the elephant’s mouth.