How has evolution adapted African elephants to their environment? – by Luka

Elephants have been around for a very long time (5 million years). All the places that elephants inhabit are hot. They live in the savanna ( a grassy plain with few trees) and elephants migrate when they need more food. When they do migrate, they migrate to forested lakes and river banks. They also live on beaches, deserts and mountains. Elephants love to play in mud and swamps. Elephants do not have territories; they simply go where they please.

Younger elephants do much the same thing as adults, but they also do different things. Babies are able to walk just one or two hours after they are born. A baby elephant is brown and hairy at birth and sticks close to their mother while they are still drinking her milk. When a baby drinks its mother’s milk, they do not use their trunk. They drink with their mouth instead. An African elephant matures at 10 to 12 years. At six months, a baby is ready to eat real food. It takes the food (leaves and plants) from inside their mother’s mouth. Babies usually drink three gallons of milk a day. Adult elephants will teach babies who are old enough where to find food and water and what food is good to eat and what food is not. The average number of babies an elephant has is one.

Elephants travel in groups, but not all of them together; males usually live by themselves, maybe with a few other males but never with females. Elephants have 9 to 11 elephants per group and the oldest female leads it. The groups will join up with different families sometimes. They do this because there will be more grown elephants to protect the babies against predators.  

Male elephants are huge and can weigh as much as 14,000 pounds (6,350 kilograms) and females grow to about half as much as that. They are the largest living animal on land. Elephants use their tusks to dig for water in dry river beds. They only have four other teeth besides their tusks. Elephants only have four toes on each foot and are always standing on them (when they are standing up). Elephants never stop growing. Their tusks also grow longer as they get older. Elephants’ ears let heat escape so they stay cool. Adult elephants inherit traits from their parents, like massive bodies and tusks. These traits can help the elephant live for longer. The projections at the end of the Elephant’s trunk act like fingers. Elephants are pachyderms. They are also mammals, which means they are warm-blooded like humans.

Elephants have few predators. One of their predators is the lion. Elephants live for 60-70 years. Elephants have many ways of showing anger. They will flap their ears to warn you that they are mad. They will also charge if they are in danger. Circling the youngest is how they protect babies, because the older elephants have tusks and use them  to fight when they are in danger. 

Huge numbers of elephants used to live in Africa but over the years the numbers have fallen. Some of the reasons for this are that people kill elephants for their ivory tusks to sell on the black market. People also turn elephant habitats into farmland. Losing habitat is a big threat to elephants. All of these reasons involve humans. 

Elephants are incredible animals and have been adapted by evolution amazingly. They have gone through some hard times and are today., also. It’s amazing that they are still here today.