ELEPHANT, the largest of living land animals, the two species of which constitute the family Elephantide, of the sub-order Pro boscidea. The better-known species (Elephas or Evelephas maximus) is native to the jungles of India; while the other species (Elephas or Loxodon africanus) is found in the forests of Africa.
The elephant is a huge, ungainly creature with an enormously heavy body, mounted on four short, columnar legs, the hinder ones bend ing like knees when he lies down, as he doubles them behind, and not under him; his tail is long and tapered, ending in a bunch of coarse hair; otherwise the wrinkled bluish-gray bide is quite hairless. His head is large, with big pendu lous ears, small eyes, and a nose, prolonged into a proboscis or °trunk,n which reaches to the ground when he stands erect. The average male elephant is 8 or 10 feet high, and weighs five tons or more. There is a pigmy race of the African elephant, however, found in the Kongo, which is not over seven feet in height. The incisors of his upper jaw are pro longed into tusks, which are, however, less useful to him, as weapons, than is his trunk This organ enables the animal to pick up things from the ground, and to reach fruits or leaves many feet above his head, and it also conveys water to the mouth. Indeed, so great is the tactile sense of this singularly flexible proboscis that it has been likened to a hand. It is also its owner's chief weapon of Offense and defense; for with it he can catch and crush a man with ease, or hurl aside the tiger. The nasal bones are rudimentary, to give room for the trunk. The powerful muscles of the trunk demand a large surface for their attach ment, and accordingly the skull is very large, and yet is prevented from being excessively heavy by the presence of large air spaces be tween the inner and outer tables. The end of the trunk forms a prehensile organ with two flaps in the Indian elephant, one in the African. The tusks are not present in all elephants, and vary much in size. They lack all coating of enamel. The digestive system is typical of that of the herbivorous animals in general, except for the long, narrow form of the stomach, and for a peculiar muscle attached to the gullet, which renders regurgitation of water possible. The female has a single pectoral pair of mamma. Gestation lasts two years, and the young are suckled for two years more. The age which this huge creature attains is proportionate to its size; for captive specimens have been known to live a hundred years, and scientists believe that, in a wild state, it may live many years longer. The Indian elephant (Elephas asiaticus) differs from the African in having smaller ears and a longer head with concave forehead and smaller eyes; in this species, also, the hind feet are often five-hoofed, whereas in the African they arc never more than four-hoofed, though five digits are always present in both limbs. Though the two species present some differences as to dentition, the special peculiarity in the structure of the molars is common to both. These teeth are of great size, and are formed of vertical plates of dental bone, separately covered with enamel, and welded together by a bony °cement? so that each tooth looks like a number of teeth, cemented together. In both species, also, there are no canine teeth, and no incisors in the lower jaw; while the incisors of the upper jaw are developed into tusks, often weighing 150 to 200 pounds each. These tusks furnish the ivory (q.v.) which is so much es teemed for ornamental purposes. The Indian elephant for thousands of years has been the servant of man. From the earliest ages he has borne the Oriental warrior into battle, has hauled his stores and ammunition, and has even been taught to wield weapons. In peace he has piled logs and huge blocks of stone as un remittingly as a derrick, and has been the main feature in the processions of the native princes. In these last and always spectacular functions, the elephant's anklets, saddlecloth and trappings are often encrusted with gold and jewels; and the prince who sits in the canopied howdah on his back is not more gorgeously attired than his elephant. In this connection, also, the al
binos of the elephant are prized far more highly than the ordinary sort; in Siam, indeed, the white elephant is royal and venerated. The catching of these elephants singly, or in herds, is by no means an easy task. In former years they were caught in pitfalls, but this practice has been abandoned, because the creatures were frequently injured. Modern methods are varied. Sometimes male elephants are decoyed by tame females trained for that purpose, until they are in close proximity to the hunters. These en tangle their unconscious victim's legs in stout ropes, and when, eventually he finds himself trapped, he fights until exhausted. When, how ever, herds are hunted, they are driven by an ever narrowing circle of hunters toward the mouth of a strongly built stockade, or akeddah? When, after many days, surrounded and en closed by their pursuers, they rush into the stockade, the great gate is shut upon them. They are then tamed by a variety of methods, which differ as the stockades do, according to locality. Once caught, the elephant is easily trained, a few months being, usually, sufficient to teach him all he needs to know. Methods of training vary in detail; but, after the first severe lessons, the trainer usually finds gentle ness effective. The driver or mahout sits upon the elephant's neck and manages him by words and by the use of a small iron-pointed stick.
tamed, elephants, except in cases when they become °bad? and have to be shot like mad dogs, often are so gentle that children may be trusted to play with them. Besides the differ ences between the two species, already noted, the African elephant is not as amenable to domestication and confinement as the Asiatic, and is the chief source of the world's supply of ivory. Indeed, the African elephant generally succumbs to disease and dies in confinement, while the only change noted in the Asiatic under the same circumstances is that the species gen erally does not breed in captivity. The African elephant is peculiar in that the great tusks, twice as large as those of the Asiatic species, are present in both male and female, while in the Asiatic species they are found only in the male. Because of the demand for these, the African natives have made war upon the female as well as the male, and this leads naturally to a diminution of the species, as the number of tusks shipped has increased rather than de creased each year. The African elephant is now never used as a beast of burden, though in ancient Egypt he may have been so utilized. Elephants generally live in large herds, each herd led, and apparently governed, by a leader, usually the largest of the party. So marked a family resemblance exists between members of the same herd that, in India — where they are classed as
caste and slow caste—differ ent herds are easily distinguishable. The Afri can elephants live in mountainous regions, the Asiatic ones in deep forests, whence they can issue to play in and drink of the waters in fi n which they d so much enjoyment. Here, too, their trunks are serviceable. They are used to squirt water over the creatures' backs, or to spout it, playfully, at their neighbors. Elephants also caress each other by means of their trunks. The anecdotes illustrating the docility, affection, sagacity, irritability, capriciousness and revenge ful spirit of the elephant are innumerable, and may be found in various well-known books on natural history. The natural enemies of the elephant, besides man, are the tiger and the rhinoceros, and the nasal horn of the latter often proves a more formidable weapon than the trunk and tusks of the elephant, and the sight of even a dead tiger is said to be enough to ex cite most elephants into a transport of fury. Consult Anderson,
Lion and the Elephant' London 1873) ; Hornaday, (Two Years in the jungle> (New York 1885) ; Kipling, J. L., (Beast and Man in India> (London 1891) ; Lydepper,
Game Animals of Africa' (ib. 1908) ; Neumann,