The African elephant is the largest living land animal and large males weigh up to 6.3 t (7 tn.). It inhabits a much-reduced range in savannah, brush, forest, river valleys, and semi-desert regions of Africa south of the Sahara.
Elephants are herbivores, which means they eat only plants. They usually consume 200 to 300 kg (440 to 660 lb.) of plant matter and 160 litres (42 gal.) of water in a day.
The trunk is actually an elongation of the nose, and it has nostrils on the tip. The trunk is used to pull branches from trees, uproot grass, pluck fruit, and place food in the mouth. The trunk is also used for smell and touch, greeting, sucking up water to then convey into the mouth, and throwing dust for dust baths. At the very end of the trunk are two finger-like projections, which are sensitive enough to pick up objects as small as a peanut.
There are several differences between the African elephant and the Asian elephant. The African elephant has two "fingers" at the tip of its trunk, while the Asian elephant has one. The African elephant has larger ears and tusks. And, bigger overall, the African elephant is shaped so that it is tallest at its shoulder, not at the top of its head.
In both males and females, the two incisor teeth of the upper jaw grow to form tusks. They are larger in males. At one time the ivory of these tusks was used for piano keys, billiard balls and other objects. So many thousands of these magnificent animals have been killed by hunters and poachers for their ivory that the survival of the wild African elephant is threatened with extinction as early as 2010.