Biological classification

Order Proboscidea

Family Elephantidae

Species Elephas maximus

                                                          General information

Indian elephant is the second-largest land animal. Body length is 5,5 6,4 m, shoulder height is up to 3 m, weight of males reaches 5 000 kg, females 3000 kg. The elephant tusk is modified teeth, namely incisors. Only males tusks are great and rarely reach length of 1.5 m and weight of 20 25 kg. Among Indian elephants males without tusks are often as well. Ears of Indian elephant relatively small, comparing to African.

Elephant trunk is an upper lip, modified during evolution. It is very skilled and sensitive, allowing animal to lift small items off the floor. The trunk has about 40 thousands muscles and tendons. Elephants use their trunks for breathing, watering, feeding, touching, dusting, sound production and communication, washing, pinching, grasping, defense and offense. The trunk can hold about four litres of water. Elephants will playfully wrestle with each other using their trunks, but generally use their trunks only for gesturing when fighting. Elephant skin has a thickness of 35 mm, but is extremely sensitive to heat, shock and insect bites.

Indian elephants are related to a mammoth closer than African elephants. There are receptors located of elephants feet. Due to these receptors elephants are able to feel the less movement and shakes of the ground.

Animals reach sexual maturity around the age of 1215 years. Mating season is during the whole year. The gestation period is 1822 months, and the female gives birth to one calf, only occasionally twins. The calf is fully developed by the 19th month, but stays in the womb to grow so that it can reach its mother to feed. At birth, the calf weighs about 100 kg, and is suckled for up to three years. Once a female gives birth, she usually does not breed again until the first calf is weaned, resulting in a four to five year birth interval. Females stay on with the herd, but mature males are chased away.

Indian elephant is forest inhabitant. He prefers light forests with thick undergrowth of shrubs and especially bamboo. In summer elephants climb high enough in the mountains to wooded slopes, and they occur in the Himalayas near the border of eternal snow. Wild elephants resettled in the Northeast, East and South India, East Pakistan, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Nepal, Sumatra and Ceylon.

Adult females and calves may move about together as groups, but adult males disperse from their mothers upon reaching adolescence. Bull elephants may be solitary or form temporary 'bachelor groups'.

Cow-calf unit sizes generally tend to be small, typically consisting of three adult females which are most likely related, and their offspring; however, larger groups containing as many as 15 adult females may occur. There can also be seasonal aggregations containing 100 individuals at a time, including calves and subadults.

Elephants are thought to typically follow the leadership of older adult females. Normal speed of an elephant is 4 6 km / h, but if it is necessary, it can reach speed of 30-40 km / h. Elephant sleeps only 2-4 hours per day. Elephants swim well and can swim to the island, located near the shore. For intelligence, elephants are in the list of ten most intelligent animals in the world. Their language has hundreds of sounds. Elephants can trumpet, roar, squeak. Animals communicate using sounds signals a lot.

Elephants emotional, love to chat, have an excellent memory.

They eat grass vegetation up to 220-230 kg daily. Lifespan is 60-70 years.

Elephant in Kyiv zoo

In Kiev zoo visitors can see 11-year-old Asian elephant Horace. In a large summer enclosure it has a pool and a huge umbrella. Water games and precedures of our little giant are always joyful and gather crowds of visitors.

Horace the elephant was born on 14 February 2005 in Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde (Berlin).

The name "Horace" in Sanskrit means "fiery". His favorite activity is to play, naughty and search for goodies that keepers throw about the area of his enclosure. The elephant diet includes seasonal fruits, vegetables, hay and green mass.

Currently, Horace feels good and is the adornment of the Kyiv zoo collection.