African Elephant Facts

How much does an Elephant weigh?

The average large Elephant bull reaches a weight of 5.5 tons. Some males can be as heavy as 6.5 tons. The females average about 3.5 to 4 tons.

How old do Elephant get?

The age will vary from one area to the next. In South Africa they normally reach 60-65 years. In Kenya & Tanzania about 70-75 years. The world record oldest Elephant reached an age of 86 years.

The reason why there is such an age difference in the different countries is due to the type of vegetation that the Elephants are eating. The softer the vegetation is, the longer the lifespan of the animal.

Excluding the tusks, an Elephant has 8 teeth in its’ mouth, 4 molars on the top and 4 on the bottom. They eat on average 18 hours a day so eventually the teeth start cracking and fall out. A new set of teeth will then replace the old set.  An Elephant goes through 6 sets of teeth in a lifetime and at the age of about 47 years the last set will push through. Once the last set of teeth have fallen out Elephant starts rubbing the vegetation between its’ gums to try break it down. The condition of the animal deteriorates as it can’t chew its’ food properly to get enough nutrition and eventually dies.

The Elephants in Kenya & Tanzania feed mainly on grass, which is their favourite food. The grass is soft on the teeth, so the Elephants last set of teeth last quite a long time.

The elephants in South Africa also prefer grass but in the winter period when there less grass to eat they then start feeding more on leaves, roots and the bark of trees. This vegetation is a lot harder on the teeth so the last set of teeth don’t last as long as the Elephants in Kenya/Tanzania.

How much do Elephant eat in a day?

A large Elephant bull will eat as much a 200 kg of food a day. Only 40% of that is digested as they have a very weak digestive system. They will eat on average 18 hours a day.

How many muscles in an Elephants Trunk?

No one knows for 100% how many muscles there are. I have heard two figures, one of 40 0000 and another of 140 000 muscles. With so many muscles so close together it makes it difficult to count. What might look like 1 muscle could be a small group of muscles.

So the correct answer would be “the elephant has thousands of muscles in the trunk”.

How long is the Elephants gestation period?

The female is pregnant for 22 months. The newborn calf suckles for 18 months and even as long as 2 years. The reason for such a long weaning period is because of the many thousands of muscles that they have in their trunks, making it very difficult for the calf to control. As the calf learns how to use its trunk, it will start feeding more off vegetation and become less dependent on its mother’s milk.