1. Its size, strength, and appearance.
2. Wild elephants hunted for ivory.
3. How wild elephants are caught alive.
4. The uses of tame elephants.
The elephant is the largest of all animals now living on the earth and the strongest. It is a strange animal to look, at, with its thick legs, huge sides and back, small tail, large ears, little eyes, great white tusks, and above all its long nose, called the trunk. It uses its trunk like a hand, and it picks leaves from
trees and puts them into its mouth, for it feeds on the green stuff, like horses and cows. It looks very clumsy and heavy, and yet it can move very quickly when it likes.
Elephants are found wild in India and in Africa. They live in herds in the forests, and when wild are shy animals that keep away from men. In Africa, they are hunted for the sake of their tusks, which are made of ivory and are very valuable. Their skins are so thick that an ordinary bullet will not pierce them; and large guns, called elephant guns, are used by those who hunt them.
But many elephants are caught alive to be tamed and used by men. Catching elephants alive is difficult and dangerous work; for though the elephant is not a fierce animal when left alone, it is a dangerous enemy when it is attacked. Elephants are generally caught in great traps, called keddahs; and they are either driven into these traps or are led into them by tame elephants, called decoys, which are trained to lead the wild ones astray.
When the elephants are caught, they are tamed, and become very useful servants, because they are very clever animals. They are used in different ways. Because of their great strength, they are trained to draw heavy loads-one elephant being able to draw more than many horses could. They can be taught to carry great logs of wood on their tusks and pile them up in perfect order. Elephants are used, in India for hunting, too, especially in hunting the tiger in the jungles. In old days, they were used in battle; and Indian Rajahs used to ride on them in state processions. When they go into the state, the great animals are painted with bright colors and covered with beautiful velvet cloths.