Big Five


African elephant walking in tall grass

Elephants are large mammals of the family Elephantidae and the order Proboscidea. Male African elephants are the largest extant terrestrial animals and can reach a height of 4 m (13 ft) and weigh 7,000 kg (15,000 lb). All elephants have several distinctive features, the most notable of which is a long trunk or proboscis, used for many purposes, particularly breathing, lifting water and grasping objects. Their incisors grow into tusks, which can serve as weapons and as tools for moving objects and digging. Elephants' large ear flaps help to control their body temperature. Their pillar-like legs can carry their great weight.

Elephants are the largest living terrestrial animals. African elephants stand 3 to 4 m (10 to 13 ft) and weigh 4,000 to 7,000 kg (8,800 to 15,400 lb). Males are larger than females. Among African elephants, the forest form is smaller than the savannah form. The skeleton of the elephant is made up of 326 to 351 bones. The vertebrae are connected by tight joints, which limit the backbone's flexibility. African elephants have 21 pairs of ribs.