Q:

What are elephant tusks made of?

A:

The visible ivory tusks on elephants are made primarily of dentine and include small amounts of enamel. Tusk length varies among African and Asian elephants and is hereditary. The upper incisors may grow to 10 feet or more.

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One-third of the tusk's length is actually hidden from view in the animal's skull and is technically a pulp cavity comprised of tissue, blood and nerves. Primarily used in defense against predators, the tusks are also used in battle against other elephants and to aid in foraging for food. The prized ivory has made the elephant a popular target of poachers and landed the African elephant on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources' Vulnerable list, as well as landed the Asian elephant on the Endangered list of animals.

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  • Q:

    How strong are elephants?

    A:

    Elephants are considered the strongest mammal and strongest land animal, as they can carry up to 9,000 kilograms, which in turn equals the approximate weight of 130 adult human beings. An elephant's trunk consists of over 100,000 muscles.

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  • Q:

    How tall are elephants?

    A:

    According to National Geographic, African elephants are the largest animals on Earth and can reach as tall as 13 feet at the shoulder. They weigh as much as 14,000 pounds. Asian elephants are slightly smaller and feature rounder ears.

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    How heavy is an elephant?

    A:

    African elephants reach a maximum weight of 14,000 pounds, standing up to 13 feet high at the shoulder, while Asian elephants weigh up to 11,000 pounds and reach up to 10 feet in height. The two species are the heaviest land animals on Earth.

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    How long is an elephant pregnant?

    A:

    The average gestation period for an elephant is approximately 22 months. Just like with humans, this is not a hard and fast rule. One elephant was pregnant for a total of 700 days — just shy of 2 years — before giving birth.

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