The African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) also known as the African savanna elephant, is the larger of the two species of African elephant, the other specie is the Forest elephant.
The African Elephant is very catholic in its range, and tends to move between a variety of habitats. It is found in dense forest, open and closed savanna, grassland and, at considerably lower densities, in the arid deserts of Namibia and Mali. They are also found over wide altitudinal and latitudinal ranges, from mountain slopes to oceanic beaches, and from the northern tropics to the southern temperate zone. Their herds wander through 37 countries in Africa.
They are easily recognized by their trunk that is used for communication and handling objects. And their large ears allow them to radiate excess heat. Upper incisor teeth develop into tusks in African elephants and grow throughout their lifetime.
African elephants are herbivorous. Their diet varies according to their habitat. Their diet consisting of tree foliage, fruits, herbs, grasses, and wood including roots, twigs, and bark. Their source of fiber comes from chewing on bark but not digesting the bark itself. Elephants only digest about 40% of what they eat and therefore, they need to spend two-thirds of every day eating. In order to obtain bark or roots, African elephants will overturn a tree to for easier access. Using their trunks as a temporary container or holding, African elephants use their trunks to gather water and shoot it into their mouths. They must consume around 50 gallons of water everyday in order to stay hydrated.
African elephants are active animals for the majority of time in a 24-hour period, due to the amount of food they must consume each day. They are dormant in the early morning hours with an additional sleep midday for a total of 4 hours of sleep every day. During this time they scavenge for food and groom themselves. Grooming consist of African elephants using their trunks to cover themselves with mud or water, and the process helps them maintain hydration.
An elephants trunk is the most versatile of all mammalian creations being used as a nose, arm, hand and multipurpose tool. It is powerful enough to kill a lion with a single swipe, yet the finger-like lobes at the end are adept enough to pluck a feather from the ground.
Elephants tusks are elongated upper incisor teeth, which grow continuously throughout the elephants life. They are not always an exact match, as this depends on which side they favour much like left and right-handed humans.
In most places, the adult African Bush Elephant lacks natural predators thanks to its great size, however, the calves (especially the newborn) are vulnerable to lions and crocodile attacks and (rarely) to leopard and hyena attacks.
Poaching for ivory and meat has traditionally been the major cause of the species' decline. Although illegal hunting remains a significant factor in some areas, particularly in Central Africa, currently the most important perceived threat is the loss and fragmentation of habitat caused by ongoing human population expansion and rapid land conversion. The African Elephant is subject to various degrees of legal protection in all Range States. Although up to 70% of the species range is believed to lie in unprotected land, most large populations occur within protected areas.