Zoology & Botany

elephant

Prepare a picture of/book about/a toy elephant in advance, as well as a sample of ivory items

Say: Look at this animal. (Show a picture of a elephant.) This is a mammal.

Remember, to be classified as a mammal, an animal should have hair or fur, mammary glands (mammal mothers nurse their young with milk), lungs and need air to breathe. Mammals that live on land are warm blooded, have 4 legs and ears that stick out.

(Point to the elephant) Say: Elephants are the largest land-living mammal in the world. These large animals belong to the family Elephantidae. Two species are traditionally recognised, the African elephant and the Asian elephant. Of all its specialized features, the muscular trunk is the most remarkable it serves as a nose, a hand, an extra foot, a signaling device and a tool for gathering food, siphoning water, dusting, digging and a variety of other functions Elephants have large, thin ears. Their ears are made up of a complex network of blood vessels which help regulate their temperature. Blood is circulated through their ears to cool them down in hot climates. The tusks, another remarkable feature, are greatly elongated incisors, about one-third of their total length lies hidden inside the skull. Elephant feet are covered in a soft padding that help uphold their weight, prevent them from slipping, and dull any sound. Therefore elephants can walk almost silently!

Go back to the picture of the elephant. Say: let’s find elephant’s body parts. This is its head, eyes, trunk, tusks, mouth, body, legs: 1,2,3,4; this is its tail. 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. Elephants can communicate over long distances by producing a sub-sonic rumble that can travel over the ground faster than sound through air. Other elephants receive the messages through the sensitive skin on their feet and trunks. Elephants are living things and need energy to survive. Elephants are herbivorous and can be found in different habitats including savannahs, forests, deserts and marshes.. They are considered to be keystone species due to their impact on their environments. They eat: grasses, leaves, bamboo, bark, roots. Elephants are also known to eat crops like banana and sugarcane which are grown by farmers. Elephants can live in nearly any habitat that has adequate quantities of food and water. Elephants are extremely intelligent animals and have memories that span many years. It is this memory that serves matriarchs well during dry seasons when they need to guide their herds, sometimes for tens of miles, to watering holes that they remember from the past.

Elephants mate during the rainy season. They have a longer pregnancy than any other mammal—almost 22 months. Usually only one calf is born to a pregnant female. Elephants are very attentive mothers, and because most elephant behavior has to be learned, they keep their offspring with them for many years. Tusks erupt at 16 months but do not show externally until 30 months. The calf suckles with its mouth (the trunk is held over its head); when its tusks are 5 or 6 inches long, they begin to disturb the mother and she weans it. Once weaned usually at age 4 or 5, the calf still remains in the maternal group.

Elephants are scattered throughout sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Elephants have no natural predators. The main risk to elephants is from humans.(Hold up the sample of ivory, show it to the baby) Say: Because ivory is so valuable to some humans, many elephants have been killed for their tusks. This trade is illegal today, but it has not been completely eliminated. We need to take care of Elephants and treat them with respect because they are living things just like us, people.

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