Karla's Creative Capers

Elephant Art

Buy this beautiful and unique picture of an African elephant mosaic art print for only £5. Includes information about these lovely mammals such as the types, their diet, lifestyle, speeds they can travel and why they have big ears

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Limited Offer: Buy any three mosaic art prints (Elephant, Santa or Parrot - feel free to mix and match) and pay only £10 (includes postage and packaging).

Elephant Art Print

001 Mosaic African Elephants
Signed Limited Edition Print
Size : 400 x 290 mm
Price : £5

Elephant Prints

To order elephant prints, please either E-Mail Me with details of the artwork required or send your details and UK cheque/PO payable to Karla Buswell to:

Karla Buswell
PO Box 18620
AB42 3WZ

Alternatively I can accept payment through Paypal and most major Credit Cards using the "buy now" button above.

Prices include UK postage and packing and all prints are sent in a special protective tube. Please add an extra £1 for postage to the USA, for other country postage rates please E-Mail Me.

Elephant Information

The Latin name for the group of elephants is Elephantidae. They are the only remaining family from the order of the Proboscidea. The three living species are:
  • The African Bush Elephant
  • The African Forest Elephant - collectively known as The African Elephant
  • The Asian Elephant - which used to be known as the Indian Elephant

They are mammals and are the largest land animals alive. The largest ever recorded was shot in Angola in 1974. It was a male and weighed 12,000 kilograms (26,400 lb).

Females are ready to breed from 9 to 12 years old and can reproduce up to the age of 60 years. The gestation period is 22 months making this the longest of any land animal. Generally they will give birth every 5 years. They tend to have just one calf, though twins have been born to some. Labour can take up to 60 hours or as quick as 5 minutes. At birth it is common for a calf to weigh about 120 kg (265 lb) and be over 2 feet tall.

Baby elephants are born blind though can be on their feet within half an hour and walking with the herd within a few days. They have a close knit community and other herd adults teach, discipline, care and protect the young. These caring adults are known as allomothers. Herds have a structured social order, especially amongst the female group which is lead by the eldest female known as the matriarch.

Group numbers vary from 5 to 15 and when a group gets too large one older member will branch off and form their own group. Groups do interact. Adult males tend to lead their own lives, often solitary though some males form their own groups which are known as bachelor herds.

They may live as long as 70 years.

They are a protected animal.

It is thought that they have good memories, hence the common phrase, Elephants Never Forget.

They are the only animal which has four knees and at a normal walking pace it can travel from 2 to 4 miles an hour. When they walk or run at full speed this distance can increase to as much as 24 miles an hour. They cannot jump.

Types Of Elephants

It is thought, from the study of fossils, that they have evolved from the Sirenians (sea cows) and the hyraxes which later evolved to the mammoths, stegodons and deinotheria. These early mammals lived in the water, using their trunks to breathe. Modern elephants are strong swimmers and can swim great distances.

African Elephant

The African Bush Elephant and the African Forest Elephant belong to the genus Loxodonta which is collectively called African elephants. They are found in several regions throughout the continent. Sadly their numbers are falling due to poaching and illegal hunting and the loss of their natural habitat.

Their ears are much larger than the Asian. Their ears are shaped like the continent. The general appearance is much larger and they have a concave back. They can grow as tall as 4 metres (13 feet) and weigh about 7,000 kilograms (15,400 pounds), though females are much smaller.

Asian Elephant

Asian elephants belong to the genus Elephas maximus. There are far less Asian elephants in the world - thought to be less than 40,000. They are much smaller than African elephants with smaller ears and tusks. They have large bulges of depigmentation on their skin.
There are three subspecies:

The Sri Lankan Asian elephant which has the Latin name of Elephas maximus maximus. It is found on the island of Sri Lanka, a small country off the southeast coast of India. The Sri Lankan Asian elephant is the largest of the Asian elephants. It is thought that there are less than 4,000 left in the wild. Males can weigh as much as 12,000 pounds and can be as tall as 11 feet. They have very large cranial bulges and more areas of depigmentation with their ears, face, trunk and belly showing greater concentrations of pink speckled skin.

The mainland Asian elephant has the Latin name Elephas maximus indicus. They are lighter grey in colour, with depigmentation only on the ears and trunk. Males can weigh about 11,000 pounds and be as tall as 11 feet. The mainland Asian elephant are to be found in 11 Asian countries ranging from India to Indonesia. It prefers grassland and forests where they have more food sources.

The Sumatran Asian elephant has the Latin name of Elephas maximus sumatranus. It is very light grey in appearance with less depigmentation than the other Asians. Their only pink spots appear on their ears. The Sumatran Asian elephant adults are much smaller, though can grow to heights of 10 feet and weigh less than 9,000 pounds. They are only found on the island of Sumatra.

Elephant Trunk

The elephant trunk is also known as the proboscis. It forms the nose and upper lip. They use their trunks to move objects. African elephants have two finger like projections at the tip of their trunk and Asian elephants have one - these help them to manipulate objects. Though the trunks are large, they are sensitive enough to move small objects. The trunk is thought to have over 40,000 muscles. It has a sensitive sense of smell.
The trunk is used to suck up water and they can drink up to 14 litres in one suck. They bath with their trunk by spraying water, dirt and mud over their body. The dirt and mud acts as a sunscreen to protect them from the sun.
They use their trunks sociably by entwining trunks with each other either playing, during friendship, courtship or as a warning to others. An elephant with a lowered trunk may be submissive, whilst a raised trunk may indicate dominance or a warning.

Diet of Elephants

They are herbivores. These plant eaters use their trunks to lift food and put it into their mouth where their sharp teeth cut, tear and chew the grass, leaves, twigs, fruit, bark, seeds, flowers, roots or branches food stuff. Their large trunks are particularly useful to reach tall trees and branches or to shake fruit down from trees. They can only digest about 40% of what they eat so have to make up this shortfall by eating in bulk and will often spend about 16 hours a day foraging and eating. An adult can eat as much as 140 to 270 kg of food per day.

They will have 28 teeth by the time they reach adulthood. Most mammals will grow their baby teeth and have these replaced by their adult teeth. They have cycles of tooth growth and may replace their entire set of teeth up to 5 times in their lifetime. Their teeth include the tusks which are their two upper second incisors and the two milk precursors of the tusks. They will also have 12 premolars and molars - 3 in each side of each jaw. Their teeth do not grow straight up, but have a horizontal progression. New teeth grow in at the back of the mouth and push the older teeth towards the front, where they wear down with use and eventually fall out. Older elephants who have gone through their cycles of tooth replacement will wear the remaining teeth down to stumps. this is why these eat softer food such as wet grass which can be chewed on their gums or few surviving teeth. Sadly these older mammals may die of starvation because of their inability to chew and not being able to roam far for softer food.

Elephant Tusks

The tusks of an elephant continue to grow through their adult life, often as much as 7 inches in a year. They are also called ivory and second incisors. Tusks are used to dig for water, food such as roots or to remove the bark of trees to get to the pulp and to find sources of salt. They will also use their tusks to move branches or uproot trees to make a path or mark their territory. Occasionally their tusks are used as weapons. Each will have a dominant tusk which is known as the master tusk. Because it is used more it will appear shorter and more rounded at the tip.
Asian elephants have the smallest tusks and the females may not have tusks. African elephants have large tusks which can grow as long as 10 feet.
Tusks consist of calcium and phosphate.

Elephant Ears

They are fondly known for their large flapping ears which help them to regulate their temperature. On hot days they will flap about constantly to cool themselves down through forming a breeze which cools their blood vessels which in turn circulate cooler blood around their bodies. Their ears are made of a very thin layer of skin which is stretched over cartilage. Their ears have a rich network of blood vessels. They that live in warmer areas, such as the African elephants, will have larger ears to help them stay cooler.
They use their ears to show aggression and warn off predators and rivals. They will spread out their ears to make themselves look large and frightening. They give off a smell from a gland which is located behind their eyes and use their flapping ears to expel the aroma across large distances.

Elephant Skin

The elephant skin is called the pachyderm. It translates to mean thick skin. It is extremely tough around most parts of its body, though can still be sensitive. It can measure as much as 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick. The exception to this is around the mouth and the inside of their ears which are paper thin.
Asian elephants can have more hair on their skin than African elephants. This is especially seen in young calf's. The coats can appear as a thick brownish red fuzz. This darkens as they age and thins out, though not so much on their heads and tails.
They love to bathe, roll or wallow in mud and soil. This protects their skin from the sun's rays and ultraviolet radiation as well as insect bites. These mud baths help to prevent moisture loss and to further regulate their temperature.

Famous Elephants

Walt Disney had a cartoon film called Dumbo about a flying elephant who used its ears to fly in the circus. This may have been the origins of the phrase Jumbo with is slang for large.

Rudyard Kipling's wrote the Just So Stories and one tale was called The Elephant's Child.

Babar the elephant king story was written by Jean de Brunhoff in France and became a UK television programme.

The Elephant Man was Englishman Joseph Merrick (often incorrectly called John) in Victorian England. He suffered from physical deformities. It is thought these were caused by neurofibromatosis type I which is a genetic disorder also known as von Recklinghausen's disease.

The author Terry Pratchett wrote a series of books set in a fictitious planet called Discworld which is carried on the backs of four elephants who ride through space on a space turtle called Great A'Tuin.

In Thailand a white elephant is considered holy.

The Hindu god of wisdom, Ganesh, has an elephant's head.

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I helped with the artwork for the cover of my husband's book which tells the story of The Grey Lady Ghost of the Cambridge Military Hospital which reveals her origins in the QAIMNS and where she meets a QA veteran of Afghanistan. She still walks her wards and tells her story by taking Scott Grey, a QARANC nurse, to the battlefields of World War One and beyond. This is the first in the series of Grey and Scarlet Novels by CG Buswell. Read the first chapter for free.

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