A huge tusker seen during a wildlife safari on the 15th of October 2015. This elephant bull is a legend inside Balule Nature Reserve with his tusks of about 2 meters in length making him the largest tusker in the reserve. He is around 40 years old and with the growth rate of elephant tusks seemingly to increase in the latter years of their life he might well become one of the legendary elephants in Kruger National Park as he gets older. Elephants can get to about 60 years of age.
The tusks of an elephant are modified incisors in the upper jaw. They replace deciduous milk teeth when the animal reaches 6–12 months of age and grow continuously at about 17 cm (7 in) a year. They are used for digging for water, salt, and roots; debarking or marking trees. When fighting, they are used to attack and defend. Like humans, who are typically right- or left-handed, elephants are usually right- or left-tusked. The dominant tusk, called the master tusk, is generally more worn down, as it is shorter with a rounder tip. For the African elephants, tusks are present in both males and females, and are around the same length in both sexes, reaching up to 3 m (10 ft), but those of males tend to be thicker. In earlier times elephant tusks weighing over 200 pounds (more than 90 kg) were not uncommon, though it is rare today to see any over 100 pounds.
Post by Robbie Prehn