Females become sexually mature at about 13 years. The males reaches
sexual maturity at 14 years but wont start mating until hes
matured a bit on other levels first. The older an elephant bull, the
more successful he is in his mating endeavours.
lot can be said about musth, the sexual cycle of the bull elephant.
Suffice to say here it is not a prerequisite to sexual activity in
African elephants, but the musth period is a time of increased
sexual energy and aggression, so chances are better that they will
mate during this 3-4 month period.
When a female elephant goes into oestrus (4-6 days at a time), she
will constantly be on the lookout for a potential mate. As a
suitable bull approaches the herd shes part of, she will start
moving away, her tail held high, and look back periodically to see
if hes following her.
Once shes managed to lure a bull away, he will keep chasing her
until she comes to a standstill at a suitably secluded spot, away
from the herd.
male will first caress the females head and neck with his trunk,
until eventually he levers himself onto his hind legs, mount and
subsequently penetrate the cow. He will usually stay mounted for
just under a minute.
Sometimes elephant mating will also take place in the water, even among other
herd members as can be seen in the video clip above.
Should mating be successful, a gestation period of 656 days follows
almost 2 years!