appears to be considerable difference in the average size of tusks from
the various African regions. For example, while those from Abyssinia
and Taka show an average of about 25 lbs., the average for tusks from
Central Africa is about 40 lbs., the usual limit of size being 40 lbs.
from the former region and as high as 140 lbs. from the latter; this,
of course, leaves out of account the occasional tusks of altogether
exceptional weight. The difficulty experienced in securing a really
symmetrical pair of tusks is principally caused by the fact that an
elephant will use one of them, either the right or the left, as the
case may be, more frequently than the other, just as most men employ
the right hand more usually than the left one. This "working tusk"
called by the Arabs the Hadam, or "Servant," will therefore
exhibit great signs of wear. Although its trunk is of vastly more use
to an elephant than its tusks, still the African elephant, a much more
decided tree feeder than the Indian, utilizes them in the wholesale
destruction of mimosa trees, a favorite article of diet. By thrusting
the tusks like crowbars under the roots of such trees, which while
generally from 16 ft. to 20 ft. high, have no tap roots, the elephants
can easily bring them to the ground.*
* This and the following paragraph communicated by Lieut. F. W. Feavearyear of the British Army.