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How Many Tons Does An Elephant Weigh
Jeheskel (Heji) Shoshani, Professor of Biology, University of Asmara, Eritrea. Elephant Research Foundation. Author of numerous scientific and popular publications on elephants and other proboscis.
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Elephants are the largest land animals and are characterized by a large head, long torso (upper lip and nose), long legs, tusks, and broad, flattened ears. They are mainly found in savannas, grasslands, and forests, but are widely distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and Asia, including deserts, wetlands, and plateaus.
Elephants are herbivores: they eat a wide variety of plants, including grasses, fruits, and roots. An adult elephant consumes about 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of food and 100 liters (26 gallons) of water per day. This amount can be doubled for those who are hungry and thirsty. This type of utilization makes elephants an important ecological factor, as it significantly affects and even changes the ecosystems in which elephants live.
There are three types of elephants: African savannah elephant, African forest elephant and Asian elephant. African forest elephants, recognized as a separate species in 2000, are smaller than savannah elephants. There are three subspecies of Asian elephants: the Indian (or continental) elephant, the Sumatran elephant and the Sri Lankan elephant.
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Asian elephants and African elephants are listed as endangered species. They are threatened by habitat loss and poaching. At the beginning of the 21st century, there were less than 50,000 wild Asian statues left. From 1979 to 1989, the number of wild African elephants more than halved, from 1,300,000 to 600,000, due in part to commercial demand for ivory.
Elephants (Elephantidae) are the largest land animals and are characterized by a proboscis (long upper lip and nose), spiny legs, large head, temporal glands, and broad, flattened ears. Elephants are gray to brown in color and have sparse and coarse fur. They are commonly found in savannas, grasslands, and forests, but have a wide range of habitats, including deserts, wetlands, and highlands in tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and Asia.
) can weigh up to 8,000 kg (9 tons) and stand 3–4 m (10–13 ft) at the shoulder. African forest elephant (
) lives in tropical forests and was recognized as an independent species in 2000, smaller than grassland statues. It has downward-pointing fine teeth. The popular belief that “pygmy elephants” and “water elephants” are unfounded; they may be a species of African forest elephant.
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) weighs about 5,500 kg and can reach a shoulder height of 3.5 m. There are three subspecies of Asian elephants: Indian elephant or continental elephant (
One of the most versatile organs in mammals is the elephant’s trunk. This structure is unique to representatives of the order Proboscis, which includes the extinct mastodons and mammoths. Anatomically, the torso is the union of the upper lip and the nose; located at the tip of the nose. The trunk is stout, and an adult male weighs about 130 kg (290 lb) and can carry about 250 kg. However, it is very agile, flexible, and sentient, which makes it almost independent of other animals. The chest is made up of 16 muscles. The main muscle works to lift the torso up and to the sides; the other covers the bottom. The trunk has a very complex network of radial and transverse muscle fascicles that provide fine movement. There are approximately 150,000 muscle fascicles in total in the cross-section of the torso. The trunk is innervated by two proboscis nerves, which make it very sensitive. Branches of this nerve reach many parts of the body, especially the tip, which has tactile bristles at regular intervals. Petal-like protrusions at the end of the trunk allow it to perform extremely delicate tasks, such as picking up coins from flat surfaces or opening peanuts, blowing the shell and placing the kernels in the mouth. African statues have two legs (one up, one down); Asian statues also have one. Asian elephants often use a technique called “grasping” by wrapping the tip of their trunk around an object, while African elephants use a “pinching” technique, picking up similar objects with their thumb and forefinger. African elephants may have long trunks, but Asian elephants may have elongated bodies.
Elephants use their trunks in other ways, such as their hands. Tools used by elephants include grabbing branches and scratching out of reach of their trunks and tails. Large branches are sometimes used and objects can be thrown in a hazard display. When elephants meet, one elephant may touch the other’s face, or they may lean on their trunks. This “trunk shaking” can be compared to a human handshake, as it can be associated with similar functions such as reassurance and greeting, or as a means of assessing strength.
Breathing, drinking and eating are important functions of the body. Most breathing takes place through the torso rather than the mouth. When elephants drink, they pump 10 liters (2.6 gallons) of water into their trunks and spray them in their mouths. They pluck grasses, leaves, and fruits with stem tips, and apply these plants to their mouths. The trunk is also used to collect dust or grass, possibly to protect from insect bites and sunlight. When elephants suspect danger, they lift and spin their trunks like an “olfactory periscope,” presumably sniffing the air for information.
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Elephants make two types of sounds by changing the shape of their nostrils as air passes through their trunks. Low noises – whistles, rolls, booms, booms; Loud sounds – horns, horns, vibrating horns, combo horns, puffs, desperate wailing and wailing. Originally thought to be caused by defecation, the sound is now believed to be emanating from the larynx and is thought to be similar to a cat’s purr. Sound originates in the larynx and a special structure associated with it – the pharynx. In most mammals, the nine bones of the pharynx connect into a box-like structure, and the hyoid organ supports the tongue and vocal cavity. The elephant’s hyoid is made up of just five bones, and the gaps formed by the missing bones are filled with muscles, tendons and ligaments. These loose appendages provide a great deal of freedom to the larynx and allow the formation of a pharyngeal pouch behind the tongue. This unique structure facilitates sound production and contains voluntary muscles that allow the sac to act as a resonance chamber, emitting sounds at frequencies below the range of human hearing. These low-frequency (5-24 Hz) calls are answered by other elephants up to 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) away. Low-frequency sound waves travel through air and soil, and experiments have shown that elephants can detect infrasound waves as seismic waves. Elephants can make a variety of sounds by banging their trunks against hard soil, wood, and even their own tusks.
In addition to producing sound, the pharyngeal pouch is also used to transport water. For centuries, it has been noticed that on hot days, when there is no water nearby, elephants put their trunks in their mouths, suck up the liquid and spray it on themselves. Although the pharyngeal pouch was described in 1875, the source of this fluid, and the elephant’s ability to swallow it, remains a mystery. Two reliable sources of fluid are the stomach and pharyngeal pouch. However, stomach contents are acidic and can irritate the skin. In addition, the inhaled fluid contains fine food particles that are more likely to enter the pharyngeal pouch than food digested in the stomach. Finally, repeated field observations confirmed that elephants can spray themselves with water while walking or running. Since it is difficult to pump fluid from the stomach while running, the pharyngeal pouch may be the source of the fluid. Another possible function of the bag is to absorb heat, especially from the sensitive area above the brain
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