I dream of Africa – chased by an elephant and more …

Our morning drive began with the discovery of a small herd of zebras, and as we were about to leave, up popped a beautiful, young, leggy, female giraffe! One of the animals I most wanted to see! She was not perturbed by us at all and crossed the trail and started chomping on some of the foliage. We watched her for quite a while and then a herd of elephants moved into the area.

We continued on our drive and came across a larger herd of elephants with some  youngsters. The matriarch wasn’t too happy at having us around and gave us several warning bellows and ear flappings! When we didn’t leave quickly enough for her, she decided to pursue the issue and charged us! as we reversed down the trail. It was a little unnerving to say the least, even though we have the utmost faith and respect for Sam’s knowledge. The herd was moving off to the side and we wanted to continue on our way, but another elephant decided to show us just what she would do with us and turned her back to us and kicked her legs and made stamping motions! it was terrific!

Elephant herds are quite interesting in that the herd is led by the oldest and largest female cow, and she is most likely closely related to the previous matriarch.  The rest of the herd is made up of the matriarch’s other daughters and their calves.

The matriarch will decide what to do in case of a crisis (like our invasion of their space!) Herds are usually made up of between 6 and 12 elephants. However, groups of between 12 and 20 elephants are also not uncommon. If the herd becomes too large, some of the daughters will break away with their young to form new groups on instruction from the matriarch. This may happen if the food – and water supplies are not sufficient to sustain the entire herd as they move through a specific area. They are on the move for 20 hours a day eating between 100-150 kg of food each, and the large elephants do not lay down to sleep, but doze while standing. When she dies, the matriarch is normally succeeded by her closest relative from the herd (usually the oldest daughter).
African elephants are elephants of the genus Loxodonta, from Greek λοξός + ὀδούς. The genus consists of two extant species: the African bush elephant and the smaller African forest elephant. Wikipedia
Scientific nameLoxodonta
LifespanAfrican bush elephant: 60 – 70 years, African forest elephant: 60 – 70 years

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