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Asian Elephant

Worshiped by many religions

Order: Proboscidea

Family: Elephantidae

Genus & Species: Elephas maximus


The Asian elephant is slightly smaller in size than the African elephant. It can grow to be 8-10 ft in height and 18-20 ft in length. It is tallest at the arch of the back. It weighs up to 11 000 pounds. Only the males have tusks and these tusks are smaller than those of the African elephant. The ears are small and do not cover the shoulders. The forehead has two humps and the trunk has a single lobe at its tip. The front feet have five toes and the back feet have four toes. Asian elephants can reach speeds of 40 km/h while running and 6.4 km/h while walking. Asian elephants are an oddity among mammals as they grow until they die, which is usually around the age of sixty.


Asian elephants were once found throughout India and Southeastern Asia. Now they are restricted to the mountains of India, Indochina, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Southern China.


The Asian elephant browses by using its trunk to pick up vegetation, fruit, twigs, small branches, bark, and roots and placing it in its mouth. It needs to eat 300 pounds of food each day and will starve if its trunk is damaged. It also uses its trunk to drink.


Humans are the Asian elephants main threat. They use elephants for transportation, as beasts of burden, and will kill males for their ivory. The fact that females don't have tusks has perhaps saved them from extinction. In 1990 there were only somewhere between 42 600 and 57 500 of these beautiful animals left. Lions, tigers, and hyaenas prey on the calves.


Asian elephants reach sexual maturity at the age of 15. They usually mate during the wet season and the females carry the baby, as there is usually one, for 22 months. At birth the calf weighs 200 lbs and is protected by other elephants from carnivores.


The Asian elephant is related to the African elephant and has four subspecies: the Ceylon, Sumatran, Indian, and Malaysian elephants.