Scientific name:

Loxodonta africana (this article is about the African species, not the Asian)

 

What makes it special:

Known for being one of the Big Five and the largest animal walking on Earth, this mammal shouldn’t need much introduction. It can be found in 37 African countries.

 

Recommended caliber:

As with all the Big Five, .375 H&H is the legal minimum in most countries.

Hunting the elephant - One of the Big five

The sheer size of this majestic herbivore makes it an interesting animal to hunt. The tusks, the trunk and the giant ears (distinguishing the African specie from the Asian) are probably as fascinating as animal characteristics get. Believed by many to be endangered, this animal is actually a problem in some countries because of the large numbers of this troublemaker. Getting in the way of angry elephants is not something you should hope for without proper arms. 

 

Hunting Method

They have poor eyesight and hearing, but are quite easily scared and should always be approached upwind and with great caution. While the bulls (males) are relatively tolerant, the cows (females) will not hesitate to attack if disturbed, especially when they have young calves. Both genders are quite dangerous when wounded or continuously pursued, but are helpless if you’ve wounded just a single knee. If you see it stop feeding it can be a sign it has spotted you and you should stand absolutely still. If it flaps its ears forward, it’s a sign it hasn’t seen you. Read more about how to hunt an elephant.

 

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Know the animal

 

Appearance

They produce high-pitched screams when frightened or nervous. Young bulls can generally be quite noisy when on the move, producing various sounds, some of them sounding like stomach rumblings but actually being produced by vocal organs and uttered through the trunk or throat. 

 

Habitat

There are two African species living respectively in the bush and the forest. While the smaller forest elephant is found mainly in equatorial forests, the bush elephant can also be found in many other areas than bush, such as Savannahs, deserts, marshes and lake shores and even in elevated areas above the snow line. The access to water is the most important factor, although these animals can go for days without drinking.

 

Diet

16 to 18 hours a day is spend eating and they can walk a considerable distance while doing so. 180 to 270 kg of food is eaten per day, about 80% of this being grass and the other 20% a wide variety of vegetation such as leaves, bark, roots and wild fruit. Elephants eating the bark have destroyed many a tree. New trees are also planted, though, since they like rocking seed-bearing trees.

 

Predators

No one dares to hunt an adult elephant, except humans. Although it seems quite nervous, often alarming the herd when seeing e.g. a running zebra, due to its size and tusks, a grownup don’t have any real predators. The calf can, however, be taken by e.g. lions.

  

Life cycle

Born after a gestation period of 22 months (the longest of any mammal) with a weight of about 120 kg and a height of 90 cm (3 feet). The calves are suckled until about 2 years old. The life span is not too far from that of a human, adulthood starting at about 18 years of age and lives of often 60-70 years. 

 

Behavior

Elephants are gregarious by nature, but this is expressed quite differently by the two genders. Females live together in groups of ten or more animals (females with offspring) surrounding the matriarch, the oldest female having inherited the role from her mother. The males will as they mature spend more and more time at the edge of the group and associate with other males. Males will at some point leave permanently or be driven out of the herd by females living the rest of their lives either alone or together with other males only being together with females for reproduction.

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Animal Facts

Weight and size

Weight: Up to 6 tons.

Shoulder height: 3 m (10 feet)

 

Habitat

Depends on which of the two African species it is;

 

The bush elephant:

can be found in the Savannahs, deserts, marshes and lake shores and even in elevated areas above the snow line.

  

The forest elephant

is found mainly in equatorial forests

 

Diet

180 to 270 kg of food is eaten per day, about 80% of this being grass and the other 20% a wide variety of vegetation such as leaves, bark, roots and wild fruit.

 

Predators

A grownup don’t have any real predators. A calf can, however, be taken by e.g. lions.

 

Life cycle

60-70 years.

 

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You can hunt this animal in these countries: