Asian Elephant

Order Proboscidea
Family Elephantidae
Genus Elephas
Species Maximus
Height 2.5 Ė 3 metres
Weight Upto 5000kgs
Lifespan Approx 60 years
Habitat Forests and woodlands


Indian Elephant (E.m. bengalensis)
Ceylon Elephant (E.m. maximus)
Sumatran Elephant (E.m. sumatrana)
Malaysian Elephant (E.M. Hirsutus)

Asian Elephants are the smaller of the two species. Their trunks have only one lip. They have an arched back and smaller ears. Female elephants tusks are not visible.

Elephants are the largest living land animals, with males standing on average at 4 metres tall, weighing about 6,500 kgs with a body length of 25 feet.

Their trunk, or proboscis is a very sensitive organ used for smelling, handling food, objects, sucking up water and touching. Their food and water is picked, or sucked up using the trunk and then passed into their mouth. They also use their trunks to suck up water to squirt over their bodies to keep them cool. Their trunk is sensitive enough to pick up seeds and powerful enough to lift whole trees.

Their large ears act as a cooling system. The backs of the ears are covered by blood vessels and by flapping their ears elephants can keep their body temperature down.

Elephantís tusks are large teeth growing from the upper jaw. They use their tusks for feeding such as digging up roots and lifting the bark from trees, as well as for display and as a weapon. Elephants are usually about 2 years of age when their tusks first begin to appear. It is because of their tusks that elephants have been so widely hunted.

Elephants eat grasses, leaves, shrubs and also tree bark, twigs and branches. Each day they will consume about 500 lb of vegetation and drink about 120 litres of water.

They are very sociable animals usually living in herds consisting of cows with their calves, led by the oldest female the matriarch. Some males are part of bachelor herds. They communicate by sight, sound, smell and touch.

They produce 100 kgs of dung per day!

The gestation period is 22 months.

They drink about 120 litres of water a day.

Apart from their tusks elephants only have 4 molar teeth.

A newborn calf is about 3 feet tall and weighs approx 250lb.




Author: Joyce Poole
Paperback - 72 pages (September 1997)
Colin Baxter Photography; ISBN: 1900455307


The Asian Elephant : Ecology and Management

Author: R Sukumar
The Asian elephant has had a unique cultural association with people. Unfortunately, elephants and people have also been in conflict, resulting in the decline in elephants throughout their former range in Southern Asia. This book provides an ecological analysis of elephant human and interaction and its implication for the conservation of elephants.

Asian Elephant Links

Elephant Photography Gallery
Loads of elephant photographs taken in South Africa

Elephant Information Repository
A very useful site with lots of information on elephant lifestyle, behaviour etc aswell as elephant news and conservation information.

Friends of the Asian Elephants
Foundation involved in several projects including providing medical treatment for elephants in Asia.

Save the Elephants
Conservation organisation involved in research, education, monitoring and protection of elephants.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Conservation organisation dedicated to protecting elephants and rhinos from poaching. Site contains useful information.



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