Tembo

 

Well ok maybe I lied, slightly, I didn’t really buy an elephant. I kind of ‘rented’ it from Colchester Zoo. They have a very good adoption scheme, you can pick from loads of animals. I love elephants, they are one of the best animals in the world they are interesting:

 

Elephants are the largest land mammal on the planet, reaching up to 6 – 7.5m in length, 2.5 – 3.3m in height and weighting up to 6000kg (male) or 3000kg (female). There skin is approximately 4cm thick and covered in bristly dark hair. There tusks are actually two enlarged teeth from there upper jaw, they are used for prising bark off trees and digging. An elephants trunk is made by the joining of the nose and top lip, it has 40000 muscles, but no bones, this means that they are capably of picking up large, heavy objects but also being delicate with small objects. The tip is different depending on the species, the African elephants tip has two lips whilst the Asian has only one. The trunk has many other functions such as drinking, squirting water over their body, breathing and amplifying the trumpet.

            Elephants live in complex social herds, usually of one sex. The females making up a group are closely related and led by the oldest female called the matriarch. The females stay with the group when they are mature but the young males leave their natal group and either live alone or in small, ever changing, all male groups.

                               

 

Of course I can’t really have a webpage about Tembo without Tembo actually appearing on it.

 

This is Tembo and his ‘girlfriends’ there is another one somewhere but I didn’t get a picture of her. Two of the females, Zola and Rosa, are pregnant and Tanya the third female already has a baby called Kito.  If you visit Colchester Zoo you can feed the elephants, amongst many other animals, stroke them and if your lucky you can be a zoo keeper for the day and actually look after the animals. You can visit Colchester Zoo’s webpage to get more details.

 

 

 

 

All of the elephants at the zoo are African elephants, Loxodonta Africana (originating from the Greek ‘Loxos’ – slanting, ‘Odontos’ – tooth and ‘Africana’ simply meaning coming from Africa). Tembo arrived at Colchester in March 1998 to begin a breeding programme. Kito was born to Tanya and Tembo at Colchester zoo in December 2002. Elephant gestation is 22 months and there is usually only one calf born. A wild elephant can live up to 60 years but they frequently live longer in captivity.