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Elephant

african indian trunk water

Elephant, largest living land animal, of which there are 2 species, the African (Loxodonta africand) and the Indian (Elephas maxima). The African elephant is the larger of the 2, standing up to 111/2 ft (3.5 m) and weighing 6 tons (5,400 kg). It has larger ears and tusks, a sloping forehead and 2 “lips” at the end of the trunk, compared with the Indian elephant's 1 “lip.” The trunk is a long, flexible snout with nostrils at the tip, and the sense of smell is very acute. The trunk is also used for carrying food and water to the mouth and for spraying water during bathing. The African elephant is found over most parts of Africa south of the Sahara, usually in open country. It uses its large ears as radiators to keep cool. The Indian elephant lives from India to Sumatra and stays mainly in dense cover. The habits of the 2 species are similar. They live in herds that are led by an elderly cow, the old bulls being solitary. They feed on grass, foliage, and twigs and in some places destroy woodland by pushing over trees and bushes. The Indian elephant is used as a beast of burden. African elephants were once trained for use in warfare. Elephants are the major source of commercial ivory, and uncontrolled hunting considerably reduced their number, particularly in Africa. Since the 1970s international wildlife organizations have worked to prohibit sale of tusks and ivory products.

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