Elephant is the largest land animal. It is generally a timid and a peace loving animal, and it is for this reason that it can be easily domesticated and trained. An elephant can weigh up to 5 tones. It has four legs, which are thick and short. It has two ivory tusks, which protrude outside for the upper jaw. They use these tusks as weapons for defense. However, for chewing food it has teeth inside its mouth, which are not normally seen by us.
The trunk of elephant performs the function of hands, nose and lips
The elephant live in herds. A group can have ten to fifty elephants. These groups of elephants keep on moving about in the jungles. In general, the elephant has the color of catechu with a blackish shade. Some elephants are white too. To day there are two types of elephants – African and Asiatic, which are found in the tropics of Africa and
Asia. The African species are bulky with bigger ears whereas the Asiatic ones have high, domed forehead.
The elephant’s trunk is a very important organ, without which it cannot exist. It may be called the lifeline of an elephant. It is as essential for the elephant as the hands are for us. The trunk is an extension of the nose and upper lip and performs the functions of hands, nose and lips. They have also developed a heavy head. Since a heavy head cannot be carried on a long neck, the elephants need long trunks to reach their food.
The trunk has about 40,000 muscles. Because of such high number of muscles, it is flexible and strong. An elephant can lift huge wooden planks with its trunk. The tip of the trunk is just like a finger and is so sensitive that it can even lift a needle. It carries its food to the mouth with its help. It also drinks water with the help of the trunk. While bathing, it fills water in its trunk, curls it up and pours it over its back.
The average life of an elephant is 90 years. Elephants are herbivores, eating a wide range of plants such as sugarcane, banana, etc. Elephants are used in jungles for carrying heavy wooden logs from one place to another. They entertain us in the circus.
The tusks are used in making many decorative things.