ELEPHANTS AND RHINOS
Elephants and Rhinos are the largest land mammals on the Earth. Elephants and Rhinos are herbivores (plant eaters, such as grass, leaves, twigs…) living in Africa and Asia. Their skin is very thick and can be grey or brown. Rhinos, like elephants are near-sighted but other senses, such as smell and hearing are well developed. The name for male-bull, for female-cow and for child-calf is the same for elephants as for rhinos.
Like rhinos, elephants fight for females and mostly one calf is born. To protect their skin from UV radiation and insect they like to wallow in mud. Because they both are so muscular they have no animal enemies but the only menace are humans.
Elephants are the largest land animals in the world and ones of the most intelligent. As I mentioned, there are two types of elephants- African and Asian, but in reality there are tree types: the African Bush Elephant, the African Forest Elephant and the Asian Elephant (known as the Indian Elephant). The average age is from 50 to 60 years. Elephants are day/night animals but eating takes most of the time -16 hours. Sleep takes only 4 or 5 hours a day. “Elephants form deep family bonds and live in tight social units”. A horde is usually lead by an older matriarch and includes mothers with their offspring. Male leave the horde between ages of 12 and 15 and usually live alone (www.kidsplanet.org).
Calves are born after 22 months of carrying and weight around quarter of ton. Elephants are nonterritorial animals and are mostly known for their ears, trunk and tusk. Large flapping ears are important for temperature regulation. With flapping they create slight breeze which helps to cool down the blood temperature. Ears are also used as a display of aggression and during the males mating period (Elephant, wikipedia, 2006). The trunk is used for piching up blades of grass, ripping the branches or tearing up their food and placing it to their mouth. Elephants also use it for drinking and inhaling water to spray their body. Elephants entwine their trunks during the play. But a raised trunk can be a warning or a threat, while a lowered trunk as a sign of submission (Elephant, wikipedia, 2006).“ The tusks of an elephant are upper incisors that grow continuously”. They are used to dig for water, salted roots, to debark trees or move branches. Occasionally, elephants use them as weapons. The tusk is made of calcium and phosphate. It is relatively soft and also known as ivory. (Elephant, wikipedia, 2006). Despite of their size, which is around 18-21 feet, elephants can reach the speed of 40 km/h in a full gallop.
Rhinos are the second largest land mammals on the Earth. It has from 4 and half to 6 feet. The basic classification of rhinos is the African and the Asian. The African species are the White and the Black rhinos and have two horns. Asian are the Indian and the Javan and have only one horn. There is also the Sumatran but it has two horns. “ Rhino’s habitat ranges from savannas to dense forests in tropical and subtropical regions” (www.kidsplanet.org). The average age between rhinos is from 30-35 but sometimes they may live up to 40, mostly in captivity. Rhinos are loners, not living in hordes. After mating everyone goes his own way. Calf is born after 14 to 18 months later and they are nursed for a year, although they are able to eat vegetation in a week (Rhinoceros, R. Savannah, 1998). Usually calves stay with the mother for 3 years. Both, male and female mark their territories and often fight for them. Rhinos are day active animals which like to wallow in a mud at the end of the day to cool down. “The word rhinoceros means ‘horn-nosed’ “ and grows in 5 weeks after birth (Rhinoceros, R. Savannah, 1998). Horn is concentrated in the centre of the forehead and is used not only in battles for territory or females but it is also protection from lions, tigers and hyenas. Rhinos use it also for shovelling the ground for mineral salt. For their protection or protection of their calf, they try to threat the intruder by snorting loudly or they may charge (Rhinoceros introduction, 2005). Although rhinos have bulky, heavy armour-clad body they can run up to 45km/h. Despite of, that elephants and rhinos are protected; the number of them is falling down. It is because poachers hunt them for their valuable horns and tusks. Elephants and rhinos are one of the most impressive and interesting animals in the world. But maybe one day, they just disappear…
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