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Elephants are the largest land animals in the world. They are the only animals with a long trunk for a nose. An elephant also uses its trunk like a hand to put food into its mouth. A mother elephant uses her trunk to stroke her baby. And an elephant takes a shower by sucking water into its trunk and then spraying it over its body.
Wild elephants spend most of the day eating. They eat about 300 pounds (140 kilograms) of plants a day. They bathe in lakes and rivers and love to roll around in muddy water. After a mud bath, an elephant may cover itself with dirt. The dirt helps protect the animal's skin from the sun and insects.
An elephant has long, curved upper teeth called tusks. They are made of ivory. Elephants use their tusks to dig for food and water and to fight.
Elephants make many kinds of rumbling sounds to communicate with one another. They also scream, roar, bellow, and groan, and sometimes they squeak. Elephants have good hearing. They can hear each other at a distance of 2 1/2 miles (4 kilometers) or more.
There are two kinds of elephants. African elephants live only in Africa. Asian elephants, also known as Indian elephants, live in India and Southeast Asia. An elephant lives about 65 years.
Hunters have killed many elephants for their ivory tusks. People have also destroyed much of the elephant's environment by clearing land for buildings and farms. Experts agree that elephants are in great danger of dying out. They need human protection.
Learn other fascinating animal facts with World Book's World of Animal books for children or through the Animal iPad app for kids.
- Top 10 fun facts about elephant