Counting elephant toenails

Did you know that counting the number of toenails on an elephant can help identify it? 

That's because the African Forest elephant has more toenails than the Bush elephant! Front foot & back foot toenail count is 5 and 4 compared to Bush's 4 and 3. 

Here are the keys to identifying a Forest elephant:

1st IK*:  Straight downward pinkish tusks; both males and females have them

2nd IK:  Large rounded ears; each as large as the head

3rd IK:  Concave or "sway" back

4th IK: And if you're not running for your life, check out the number of toenails!  :)

Next post, we'll look at the our last of the species, the Asian elephant.

But, shhhhh, there's one more elephant that some scientists think should be the fourth elephant in the family!  

But more about that later...  :)

*Identification Key, or IKs, are characteristics used to identify an animal. (More about identification keys here.)

"Elephant Dance" photo courtesy of Coy Aune at

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