Asian Elephant

Asian Elephant  Elephas maximus

Type of Animal:

Forests, grasslands, transition areas between forest/grassland, grassy glades, dry thorn forest, cultivated areas, scrubland, scrub forest, plains, savanna, prickly forest, mosaic habitats, found in altitudes from sea level to over 9,842 ft

India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, S China, SE Asia, Sumatra, Borneo. Formerly found throughout Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, SE Asia, S & E China, Sumatra, Borneo, Java as well as S Iran, E & N Iraq, SE Turkey, & E Syria.

Smaller ears than 2 African cousins, only bulls have visible tusks w/ cows having tushes only visible when mouth open if any tusk at all, gray body, long trunk, Borneo Pygmy subspecies smallest of 4 subspecies (in fact often smaller than smallest elephant species-African Forest Elephant), followed by Sumatrans, followed by Indian & Sri Lankan (these 2 tend to be biggest). Overall, larger than Forest Elephants & smaller than African Bush Elephants. 2nd largest land mammal on earth. Some populations have large number of tuskless bulls.

Roots, grasses, fruit, bark, leaves, vines, twigs, shoots, agricultural crops, salt, minerals, palms, legumes, flowers, bamboo, stems, nuts, seeds, herbs, trees, vegetables, shrubs

Status in Wild:
Endangered. Semi-domesticated in parts of range.

Breeding in zoos, wildlife parks, & breeding centers

Basic family herds led by dominant oldest cow (matriarch), also comprising 5-8 related cows, calves, & juveniles plus a few sub-adult bulls around ages 8-10. Sometimes, different family herds join together forming clans of up to 30 elephants. Young bulls leave family herd between ages 8 & 12 while cows stay w/ family for life. Bulls solitary or in bachelor herds of 2-10 animals.

Additional Info:

Male: Bull
Female: Cow
Young: Calf
Group: Herd
Male: 5-7 tons
Female: 3.25-4.5 tons
Young: 1,200 lbs

Up to 2 years 

Life Span:
50-70 years

Male: 7-11 ft
Female: 5-9 ft
Young: 3-3.5 ft
Body Length:
Male: 10-21 ft
Female: 7-16 ft

Tail Length:
3-5 ft, same for both sexes

Adults have no predators while lions & tigers prey on calves.
Bulls fight to death by ramming & goring each other. In fact, fights one of most common causes of death among bulls.
Most common elephants used in circuses/shows/rides since they tame easier than African cousins.
Endangered due to poaching for ivory/meat/skin, habitat loss, deforestation, & killing of individuals as crop pests.
Tuskless bulls more common in areas where ivory poaching more prevalent.

Fun Fact(s):
Trunk has multiple purposes, such as grabbing things, drinking, & snorkeling.
MORE ANIMAL HANDLERS KILLED BY ELEPHANTS THAN ANY OTHER ANIMAL- worst culprits being bulls in musth (periodic condition in bulls resulting in testosterone levels 60 times higher than usual), cows w/ calves, & abused elephants. Other aggression risks are from individuals that are plain aggressive, regardless of sex. They have wide range of temperaments.
Some people believe elephants never forget.

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