What is the African elephant?
African elephants are the largest land animals on Earth. They are slightly larger than their Asian cousins and can be identified by their larger ears that look somewhat like the continent of Africa. (Asian elephants have smaller, rounded ears.)
Although they were long grouped together as one species, scientists have determined that there are actually two species of African elephants—and that both are at risk of extinction. Savanna elephants are larger animals that roam the plains of sub-Saharan Africa, while forest elephants are smaller animals that live in the forests of Central and West Africa. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists savanna elephants as endangered and forest elephants as critically endangered.
Trunks and tusks
Elephant ears radiate heat to help keep these large animals cool, but sometimes the African heat is too much. Elephants are fond of water and enjoy showering by sucking water into their trunks and spraying it all over themselves. Afterwards, they often spray their skin with a protective coating of dust.