Width: 2 inches
Length: 3 inches
Height: 3 1/2 inches
Hand Crafted in Kingdom of Swaziland
Amongst the mountains that encircle the tiny African Kingdom of Swaziland is one that resembles a basking crocodile. At its summit is the world's most ancient iron ore mine, dating back 43 000 years and at its foot is the remote village - NGWENYA- (Siswati name for "crocodile"). Here a small group of Swazi craftsmen and women - with age old artistry - breath life into enchanting interpretations of the animals and birds of Africa.
About the Elephant.
Females (cows) mature sexually at around 9-12 years old and can potentially reproduce into their 40s. Females produce calves at intervals of about every three to five years. Although males (bulls) reach sexual maturity around age 10, they often do not breed until they are about 30 when they become large and strong enough to successfully compete with other large male elephants for females. The gestation period lasts about 22 months (630-660 days) after which one calf is born; twins are rare. Average calf birth weight is about 265 pounds.
Young suckle with their mouth (not trunk) and may not be fully weaned until the birth of the next calf. While adult elephants have no natural predators, young elephants are occasionally preyed on by lions, hyenas or crocodiles. Most physical growth occurs by age 15, and top mental ability is reached at ages 30-45. Elephants have four molars, which are replaced five times, for a total of six sets in a lifetime. Death comes when the last set of molars wear out and the animal can no longer eat.
Although African and Asian elephants look much alike, there are several physical characteristics that distinguish them from one another. African elephants are larger in size, have bigger fan-like ears and have a single hump on their forehead, a sway back, more wrinkled skin and a trunk that has two finger-like projections at its tip, one at the top, one at the bottom.
Male and female African elephants grow large tusks; male Asian elephants usually have smaller tusks and tusks of Asian females are not visible beyond the lips. Tusks are elongated upper incisors, one on each side of the jaw. They begin to appear at age two, and grow throughout the animal's lifetime. Tusks are used for fighting, pushing, lifting and digging for water.
African elephants live in socially complex 'family units' comprising of related adult cows and their immature offspring. A family unit usually comprises of eight to 10 animals and is led by the matriarch, usually the oldest, largest, dominant cow. During times of danger, such as severe drought or intense poaching, many family units will come together to form a large herd comprised of 500-1,000 individuals.
When young male elephants reach puberty at around 12-15 years of age, they become more independent and strike out on their own or are driven out by the family unit's females. At this time, males either roam alone or gather together to form small, loosely bonded "bachelor" herds, from which they come and go at will. Bulls temporarily rejoin female-centered units, especially when females are sexually receptive. As male elephants reach sexual maturity, they experience a phenomenon called musth (pronounced "must"); in Hindi, musth means 'intoxicated.' During musth, a bull's testosterone blood level skyrockets, and he becomes dangerously aggressive, unpredictable and highly competitive with other bulls for females. Females appear to prefer males in musth for mating.