Fun Proboscidea Facts For Kids

Shirin Biswas
Jan 17, 2023 By Shirin Biswas
Originally Published on Mar 11, 2022
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Learn some Proboscidea facts with us today!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.3 Min

We have all looked at the large body and gigantic teeth that elephants have and wondered how these animals came into being. Research shows that animals of the Proboscidean order, to which elephants belong, have tread earth for millions of years. Although all but one families of the proboscidean order have now become extinct, evidence collected from the study of fossils reveal how these animals have evolved into becoming what we see them as today.

The only living family of the order is Elephantidae, which consists of three species of elephants. Two of these species are native to Africa, and one is native to Asia. The species are differentiated by their size and physical features. One of the rather unfortunate facts is that all modern species of elephants are now facing extinction. Keep reading to learn more about the proboscidean order and elephants!

Proboscidea Interesting Facts

What type of animal is Proboscidea?

Proboscidea is an order of animals. The only surviving members of the order Proboscidea are elephants.

What class of animal does Proboscidea belong to?

The Proboscidea elephants are classified as mammals. The more formal term for the class is Mammalia.

How many Proboscidea are there in the world?

Unfortunately, the population of proboscideans is decreasing in the world. At present, there are only around 5,00,000 elephants left on earth.

Where does Proboscidea live?

Proboscidea elephants live in forests, grasslands, and woodlands, where they have access to plenty of food.

What is a Proboscidea habitat?

The two living species of the Proboscidea order are African elephants and Asian elephants. These two species live in different parts of the world, as the names suggest. African elephants are common in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, and Botswana, among other places within Africa. Asian elephants are found in India, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Nepal.

Many million years ago, there were many proboscideans in the world. Most of those animals have now become extinct species.

Who does Proboscidea live with?

The Proboscidea range is filled with large groups of elephants trudging around peacefully. These giant mammals are sociable and live in large groups which move from one forest to another in a very organized manner.

How long does Proboscidea live?

An elephant's lifespan depends on its species. An Asian elephant has the average life expectancy of around 48 years, while an African elephant has an average lifespan in the range of 60-70 years. The life expectancy is also dependent on the conditions of the areas of the world that witness the heaviest Proboscidea distribution.

How do they reproduce?

Proboscideans are mammals, which means that they are viviparous animals, just like humans. A member of the Proboscidean family can only give birth to one offspring at a time.

A female elephant's gestation period is of around 18-22 months, after which it gives birth to a baby elephant. Asian elephants typically tend to have smaller gestation periods than African elephants.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN Red List, the conservation status of the proboscidean Asian elephant is 'Endangered.' On the other hand, the conservation status of the African elephant species is termed as 'Critically Endangered.' This essentially means that neither of the living species of Proboscidea elephants in the world have large populations at present. This places these elephants at a definite risk of becoming extinct. Hence, many conservation efforts are underway, ensuring that these elephants are not stripped off their natural habitats!

Proboscidea Fun Facts

What does Proboscidea look like?

Proboscideans have different features depending on the specific species. The early proboscideans did not have tusks or large ears. These features are absent in absent in fossil remains of the early species, which shows evolution. Mammoths, on the other hand, were characterized by their gigantic bodies, large ears, long trunks, and two huge incisor teeth, which were named tusks.

A modern-day African elephant is differentiated from an Asian elephant through some features. For example, the back of an African elephant is concave while that of an Asian elephant is convex. African elephants also tend to be larger than Asian elephants. Both have long trunks and tusks, alongside large ears. The size of the elephant's ears is also dependent on its species. Elephants use their tusks to eat and pick up things.

Fun Proboscidea Facts For Kids

How cute are they?

While mammoths cannot be called cute simply because of just how huge they were, the living species of the proboscidean order are very cute. The large, floppy ears and long tusks add softness to the elephant's features, while the tusks impart a regal look!

How do they communicate?

Elephants communicate through sounds. These sounds are created through the mouths and trunks.

How big is a Proboscidea?

The length of the living proboscidean species remains in the range of 18-24 ft (5.4-7.3 m).

How fast can a Proboscidea run?

An African bush elephant can run at the speed of 24.8 mph (40 kph). This is also estimated to be the speed at which mammoths could run!

How much does a Proboscidea weigh?

The Proboscidea size clearly shows that these animals are not exactly feathery-light! The weight range of these animals is a stupendous 5000-14000 lb (2268-6350 kg)!

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female elephants are called bulls and cows respectively!

What would you call a baby Proboscidea?

A baby elephant is called a calf!

What do they eat?

The Proboscidea diet is assumed to always have been herbivorous in nature. All the food that elephants eat and love can be found in the forests that they inhabit. Such food would include small plants, leaves, fruits, and vegetables!

Are they dangerous?

When in Africa or Asia, it is easy to look at an elephant and assume that it must be very dangerous. While we definitely shouldn't take these animals and their strength lightly, it is also important to remember that they are friendly animals that don't hurt people unless they sense a threat.

Would they make a good pet?

Proboscidean animals are undoubtedly cute, but they eat a lot of food and require a lot of space. Furthermore, elephants are facing threats of extinction, which is why they shouldn't be domesticated.

Did you know...

Evidence of the oldest proboscidean dates back to the early Palaeogene period of the Earth.

Mammoths, along with most other early proboscideans, are now extinct.

Mammoths become extinct around 4000 years ago!

The average Proboscidea life expectancy is of 48-70 years!

What animals are in the Proboscidea order?

Currently, African elephants and Asian elephants are the only living members of the Proboscidea order.

Proboscidea evolution

The earliest evidence of animals belonging to the Proboscidea order dates back to the Palaeogene period of this planet. It is believed that the earliest members of the order were not any bigger than large pigs. At the present day, elephants are the largest mammals on Earth.

The early proboscideans did not have large incisor teeth or tusks. The animals evolved in such a way in order to be able to defend themselves. Other evolved traits would include the large, flap-like ears and the immense size!

Proboscidea Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Plants, fruits, leaves

What Type of Animal were they?

They are herbivores

Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

5000-14000 lb (2268-6350 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

forests, grasslands, woodlands

Where Do They Live?

asia, africa

How Long Were They?

18-24 ft (5.4-7.3 m)

How Tall Were They?

8.2-13 ft (2.5-4 m)




Loxondonta, Elephas



Scientific Name

Loxodonta africanus, Elephas maximus

What Do They Look Like?

They are gray and brown in color

Skin Type

Hard, wrinkly skin

What Are Their Main Threats?

predators, climatic conditions

What is their Conservation Status?

Endangered, Critically Endangered
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Written by Shirin Biswas

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Shirin Biswas picture

Shirin BiswasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.

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