Asian Elephant

Asian Elephant Facts
Size Up to 10 ft (3 m)
Speed Up to 27 mph (43 km/h)
Weight Up to 5 tons
Lifespan 55-70 years
Food Plants, fruits, roots
Predators Tiger
Habitat Asia
Order Proboscidea
Family Elephantidae
Scientific name Elephas maximus
Characteristics Trunk, tusks, round ears

The Asian elephant does not live in Africa but in Asia (logical, isn’t it?). Yet, there is not only one but three different species, and their names indicate where they come from: the Sri Lanka elephant, the Sumatra elephant and the Indian elephant.

Asian and African Elephant – the Differences

1. Anatomy

The Asian elephant is a bit smaller than the African elephant and has a kind of “finger” at the tip of its trunk. It has significantly smaller ears – for an obvious reason: The Asian elephant lives in the dense tropical jungle.

Other than the African elephant that mainly lives in savannahs and steppes, it is not often exposed to direct sunlight (just as the forest elephant). But what does this have to do with the elephant’s ears? Elephants use their ears as fans – the cold draught helps them to lower their body temperature.

Asian Elephant Asian Elephant - Photo: hangingpixels/Shutterstock

2. Living Habits

African elephants are active during the day and the night. Asian elephants use the day to get some rest and do not get active before dusk.

Which enemies does an Asian Elephant have?

An adult Asian elephant has no natural enemies except of tigers that target young or weak animals. However, most tigers are among the most endangered species themselves.

Asian Elephant Asian Elephant - Photo: Helen E. Grose/Shutterstock

The Asian Elephant is an Endangered Species

For many decades, Asian elephants were hunted because of their tusks – just like their African relatives. Many animals are still being killed by poachers nowadays, but the biggest threat is the dwindling of their natural habitat. The Asian elephant is listed as an endangered species on the IUCN red list.

Asian Elephant Asian Elephant - Photo: SurangaSL/Shutterstock

Talking Elephants

Yes, it’s true, there are elephants that are able to speak! The Asian elephant Koshik is rather reticent, but it can speak six words in Korean, e.g. “yes”, “no”, “sit”, and “lie down”. Batyr was more talkative. He could use 20 words and already close to a little chatterbox.

Unfortunately it grew up without the company of other elephants and therefore started to imitate humans. The method elephants use for talking: They stick their trunk into their mouth and put the tip of it on their tongue to form sounds that resemble human language. Scientists do not know if they really understand what they are saying.

Elephants ... or Musiphants?

In Thailand there is an elephant orchestra with 16 elephants. The grey animals make music on specially designed instruments.

Asian Elephant Asian Elephant - Photo: Andaman/Shutterstock


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