The first time that visitors to a game park set eyes
on the largest land mammal in the world,
the reaction is often incredulity.
"We never realised that they were so HUGE"
Bull elephants can reach a shoulder height of 4m (13ft)
and weight of around 6000kg (16000lbs)
The largest recorded African Elephant was 4m (13ft) tall
and weighed 11000kg (24000lbs).
A juvenile trying to intimidate this photographer.
Even at this size and elephant can inflict severe damage.
That being said, the "cuteness" factor is one that keeps guests enthralled.
This youngster looks like it has a very quizzical look on its face.
The eyes of wisdom?
Looking down on the rest of the world,
with no natural enemies other than humans.
To this day they are still hunted for their ivory.
Elephants can spend up to 18 hours a day foraging for food and water.
They regularly consume 660kg (300lbs) of plant material
and drink in excess of 22lt (52.8gal) of water on a daily basis.
They do sleep, but that is usually done in an upright position.
Lying down, which they can accomplish, puts a strain on their internal organs.
Fun fact #125: If lost, tail hairs to not re-grow.
Often called "Grey Ghosts" they can appear and disappear in almost silence.
This is as a result of their foot structure.
The foot is made up of a thick spongy pad that acts as a shock-absorber,
and the animal is actually walking on its toes...
Cows are fiercely protective of their offspring.
The herds are controlled by a matriarch and
the rest of the females will fulfil the role of aunts.
The young are well cared for and the herd will discipline and educate them,
Young bulls are forced out of the herds when they reach sexual maturity,
and have to go off and fend for themselves.
Elephants do not have great eyesight,
but they have a well developed sense of smell.
Their trunks are amazing.
Consisting of 40000 muscles, they can use it to drink water,
tear down branches or even pick up tiny objects.
Both bulls and cows can have tusks.
These are actually upper incisor teeth that have evolved,
and can be up to 2m in length.
When stressed, both sexes will flap their ears to make them look larger than they are.
The ears are also used to cool the animal down.
There are a series of veins an capillaries in the back of the ear
and when the ear is active the movement cools the blood.
All these images were shot at Tented Adventures,
Pilanesberg or Kruger National Park.
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