African forest elephant

The third largest living land animal in the world

The African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) is an elephant which lives in the forests of the Congo Basin. It is often considered a separate species from the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana); a 2010 study said that the two elephants were two different species. However, since the two groups can interbreed successfully, they may only be separate subspecies of Loxodonta africana. Pygmy elephants of the Congo Basin are sometimes said to be a different species (Loxodonta pumilio). They are probably forest elephants whose small size is adapted to the rainforest conditions.

African forest elephant
An African Forest Elephant with its calf
Scientific classification
L. cyclotis


The differences include that the African forest elephant has a long, narrow mandible (the African bush elephant's is short and wide), it has rounded ears (an African bush elephant's ears are more pointed), straighter and downward tusks, smaller size, and more toenails. The male African forest elephant rarely grows more than 2.5 metres (8 ft) in height, while the African bush elephant is usually over 3 metres (just under 10 feet) and sometimes almost 4 metres (13 ft) tall. The African bush elephant normally has 4 toenails on the frontfoot and 3 on the hindfoot, the African forest elephant normally has 5 toenails on the frontfoot and 4 on the hindfoot (like the Asian elephant).

An African forest elephant


The African forest elephant is a herbivore (plant eater) and commonly eats leaves, grass, fruit, and bark, and sometimes visits places where it can lick salt.

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