The largest and most impressive representative of the African mammals is the African Elephant. In southern and eastern Africa elephants mainly roam through the savannahs and bush lands, but forest and desert elephants have adapted to their respective habitat.
The distinguishing feature of the African Elephant to the Asian Elephant are the larger ears, with which it fans off excess body heat. In addition, the ears also serve as a warning signal and elephants spread their ears wide before an attack.
Originally native to the entire African continent, elephants can now mostly only be found in national parks and nature reserves. Even if there are isolated large populations, such as in Botswana and north-eastern Namibia, the illegal ivory trade and the poaching that goes with it are increasingly threatening the number of elephants.
Their eyesight and hearing are less developed, but their sense of smell is all the better. Elephants are very intelligent herd animals with high social behaviour. Elephants usually live in small family herds, led by an older female elephant.
They are normally peaceful animals, but due to their size and weight they can become very dangerous should they become ill, wounded or feel threatened to themselves and their calves. Their almost silent gait is typical, even through impassable terrain. The soles of their legs are padded with thick, elastic skin and tissue.
Elephants mainly eat grass, but also fruits, roots, twigs and bark. An adult elephant can eat up to 200 kg of food per day.