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There is no better place in the world to have a holiday than South Africa. For independent information, advice and facts about going on holiday to South Africa visit www.southafricaholiday.org.uk
South Africa Holiday: African Elephant

SOUTH AFRICA HOLIDAY: AFRICAN ELEPHANT

African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana africana) are the largest living land mammals. As well as being physically striking, they have remarkably complex and interesting social lives, living in matriarchal groups of pre-pubescent males and females of all ages.

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African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana africana) live for 55-60 years (over 80 years in captivity). The males are bigger than the females , with a head-body length of 6-7.5m (females 0.6m shorter); a shoulder height of 3-3.4m (female 2.7m), and weigh 6 tonnes (female 3 tonnes).
African elephants live in matriarchal groups of pre-pubescent males and females of all ages. The oldest female in the group guides the family unit, joined by adult males only for mating when the females are in oestrus.
African elephants are the largest of the elephant species, making them the largest land animal in the world. They have four toes on the forefeet and five toes on the hindfeet. The skin is grey, with a little covering of hair.
African elephants eat bark, fruit, grass and leaves. They will push down trees to eat from them. Water is essential and they can consume up to 50 gallons a day.
African Elephants are the only animals in Africa that dig deep holes in search of water. The holes, excavated using the trunk, can be several feet deep and it's thought that the locations are learned from social interactions. Elephants are also very fond of bathing.

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After they are about eight years old, male elephants enter an annual condition called musth (meaning 'madness') which is marked by secretions from a gland behind the eye. They become more aggressive and sexually excited at this time.
There is no breeding season. Females breed every four years and are only receptive for between 3-6 days, so bulls in musth need to be alert to the location of receptive females. They listen for the females tummy-rumbles that can be heard from many kilometres.
When mating takes place, the entire family takes part in a noisy melee known as the mating pandemonium, during which they rush about in an agitated state and trumpet loudly.
The gestation period is 22 months long. The females can remain fertile throughout their adult life.
South Africa Holiday: African Elephant in Addo Elephant National Park
The most notable difference between African elephants and Asian (Indian) elephants is that African elephants have larger ears and tusks.
There were once thought to be two subspecies of African elephant: Loxodonta africana africana (savannah elephant) and Loxodonta africana cyclotis (forest elephant), but recent research has meant they have been reclassified as two separate species named Loxodonta africana and Loxodonta cyclotis.
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