A LITTLE RELATIVE OF THE ELEPHANT

THOUGH outwardly resembling one of the rodent family, the small mammals called hyraxes have been placed in a separate order. They have, however, certain affinities with the ungulates and are probably of very primitive origin. For the most part they are African, live together in companies, and make their homes in the holes of rocks. The feet have round hoof-like nails, and their owners are good tree-climbers. In Syria a species has been found which has been identified with the ‘coney ‘referred to in the Old Testament.

The Indian elephant ranges from India to Sumatra and is smaller than the African species, fully grown males rarely exceeding ten feet at the shoulder, while females are at least a foot less. The forehead is concave, the ears are comparatively small, and there are five toes on the fore-feet and only four on the hind feet. The end of the trunk is formed by a finger-like

upper lip and a much shorter lower lip. Both sexes may carry tusks, though the percentage among females is not high. The tusks have been known to reach eight feet in length and their weight over a hundred pounds, though these dimensions are exceptional.

The African elephant is a taller, more leggy animal, of a possible eleven to twelve feet in height, with a sloping forehead and back, and enormous ears which may measure as much as six feet across. The trunk has a finger-like lip both top and bottom, while the front feet have four nails and the hind feet three. Both sexes usually have tusks, but the tusks of the males much exceed those of the females and have been known to attain the incredible weight of two hundred and seventy pounds, with a length of twelve feet. Such figures are, of course, very exceptional, and the constant pursuit of male elephants for their ivory tusks has rendered the equalling of such records very unlikely in modern times.

The African elephant has been domesticated in the Belgian Congo, but only to a limited extent. Domestication on the scale practised in Indian operations has not been attempted.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus