African Elephant Pictures

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African Elephants

African elephant - Loxodonta africana
African elephant - Loxodonta africana. Photo © Win Initiative / Getty Images.

Pictures of African elephants, including baby elephants, elephant herds, elephants in mud baths, migrating elephants and more.

African elephants once inhabited a range that stretched from the southern Sahara Desert to the southern tip of Africa and reached from the west coast of Africa to the Indian Ocean. Today, African elephants are restricted to small pockets in southern Africa.

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African Elephant

African elephant - Loxodonta africana
African elephant - Loxodonta africana. Photo © Lynn Amaral / Shutterstock.

The African elephant is the largest living land mammal. The African elephant is one of only two species of elephants alive today, the other species is the smaller Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) which inhabits southeast Asia.

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African Elephant

African elephant - Loxodonta africana
African elephant - Loxodonta africana. Photo © Debbie Page / Shutterstock.

The African elephant has larger ears than the Asian elephant. The two front incisors of African elephants grow into large tusks that curve forward.

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Baby African Elephant

African elephant - Loxodonta africana
African elephant - Loxodonta africana. Photo © Steffen Foerster / Shutterstock.

In elephants, pregnancy lasts for 22 months. When a calf is born, they are large and mature slowly. Since calves require much care as they develop, females only give birth about once every five years.

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African Elephants

African elephant - Loxodonta africana
African elephant - Loxodonta africana. Photo © Steffen Foerster / Shutterstock.

African elephants, like most elephants, require a great deal of food to support their large body size.

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African Elephant

African elephant - Loxodonta africana
African elephant - Loxodonta africana. Photo © Chris Fourie / Shutterstock.

Like all elephants, African elephants have a long muscular trunk. The tip of the trunk has two fingerlike outgrowths, one at the top edge of the tip and another on the bottom edge.

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African Elephants

African elephant - Loxodonta africana
African elephant - Loxodonta africana. Photo courtesy Shutterstock.

African elephants belong to a group of mammals known as the ungulates. In addition to elephants, ungulates include animals such as giraffes, deer, cetaceans, rhinoceroses, pigs, antelope and manatees.

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African Elephant

African elephant - Loxodonta africana
African elephant - Loxodonta africana. Photo © Joseph Sohm / Getty Images.

The main threats facing African elephants are hunting and habitat destruction. The species is targeted by poachers who hunt the elephants for their valuable ivory tusks.

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African Elephants

African elephant - Loxodonta africana
African elephant - Loxodonta africana. Photo © Ben Cranke / Getty Images.

The basic social unit in African elephants is the maternal family unit. Sexually mature males also form groups while old bulls are sometimes solitary. Large herds can form, in which the various maternal and male groups mix.

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African Elephants

African elephant - Loxodonta africana
African elephant - Loxodonta africana. Photo © Ben Cranke / Getty Images.

Since African elephants have five toes on each foot, they belong to the odd-toed ungulates. Within that group, the two elephant species, African elephants and Asian elephants, are grouped together in the elephant family, known by the scientific name Proboscidea.

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African Elephants

African elephant - Loxodonta africana
African elephant - Loxodonta africana. Photo © Martin Harvey / Getty Images.

African elephants can eat up to 350 pounds of food each day and their foraging can drastically alter the landscape.

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African Elephants

African elephant - Loxodonta africana
African elephant - Loxodonta africana. Photo © Altrendo Nature / Getty Images.

Elephants closest living relative are manatees. Other close relatives to elephants include hyraxes and rhinoceroses. Although today there are only two living species in the elephant family, there used to be some 150 species including animals such as Arsinoitherium and Desmostylia.