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African Elephant

Loxodonta africana

Geographic Region: Savannahs of central and southern Africa

Did You Know? Elephants have around 150,000 muscle units in their trunk. They use their trunks to suck up water to drink – holding up to 8 liters! They also use their trunks as a snorkel when swimming.

There’s More to the Story: Here’s an easy way to tell African elephants apart from their Asian cousins – their ears! African elephants have large ears shaped like the continent of Africa, while Asian elephants have smaller, round ears. They have huge ears but did you know that elephants don’t have sweat glands? They cover their skin in mud to keep cool from the hot sun.

An elephant’s tusks are actually enlarged incisor teeth, which are formed entirely of dentine (ivory) with no enamel; the rest of the teeth are molars. Elephants grow six sets of molars throughout their lifetime.

Elephants can make a variety of sounds to communicate in a variety of ways including seismic communication – sounds that create vibrations in the ground – which they may detect through their bones.

RWPZoo is home to three female African elephants, Alice, Ginny, and Kate. Having these wonderful creatures in our Zoo not only brings people closer to nature, but also makes it possible for us to educate the public on elephant conservation issues. On a mission to conserve wildlife and wild places, the Zoo continues to contribute to global elephant conservation projects including AZA Elephant Welfare Initiative, International Elephant Foundation, and the Tarangire Elephant Project.



Height: 10 ft.

Weight: 8,000 – 16,000 lbs.

Zoo Diet

Timothy hay, elephant feed, fruits, vegetables

Conservation Status


Fabric of Africa

Exhibit information

Did you know that you can go on safari right here in Rhode Island? View rare and exotic species from far away Africa.

Throughout your adventure, learn how the people, land, and animals of Africa are all interconnected and interdependent while watching zebras, cheetahs, red river hogs, and more in action.

Observe elephants swimming in a waterhole at the Ivory Ella Elephant Yard and Masai giraffes reaching high into the trees for a leafy snack at the Robert F. Stoico / FIRSTFED Charitable Foundation Jambo Junction.

Can’t find the elephants or giraffes? Head into the Textron Elephant & Giraffe Pavilion. Inside you may catch an elephant bath or training session in progress. You can also learn how Roger Williams Park Zoo cares for animals, both here at the Zoo and out in the wild.

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