The average adult African elephant weighs up to 7 tons, making them the heaviest land animal on earth. The Asian elephant is slightly more petite, reaching a maximum weight of 5 tons. Despite their gigantic size, elephants are surprisingly graceful. A herd is capable of passing by a human campsite almost completely undetected because they’re so quiet (when they choose to be).

Elephant is one of the most easily recognisable animals in the whole wide world. African elephants and Asian elephants are true gentle giants. Many of us have seen them in zoos, and some of us have even been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them in their natural habitats. A gentle giant of nature, the elephant is a truly amazing creature, that without the help of conservationists and charities, could be completely wiped out within a matter of decades. The sad truth is that their habitats are being crushed to make way for infrastructure projects, and poachers are still taking aim to at these beautiful beasts to meet the demands of the illegal ivory trade.

The largest African elephants can stand in excess of 13 feet (4 meters) tall at the shoulder. How does an African elephant grow to be 13 feet tall and weigh over 14,000 pounds? By eating a lot! Scientists estimate that the largest elephants can eat more than 300 pounds of food in a single day.

General Elephant Facts

Did you know that the word “Elephant” is actually latin for “huge Arch”? These animals certainly are huge and impressive beasts. In fact, the elephant is the largest living land mammal in the world. A male elephant can grow up to 4 metres in height and weigh up to 7 tonnes; whilst their females counterparts can still weigh in at a mere 3.5 tonnes.

To feed an animal of such gigantic proportions takes a lot of food. Their daily food intake is almost as much as 4-7% of their body weight. When you are an elephant, that equates to finding and eating an awful lot of food. As you would expect, all that food needs to be digested and dozed off, which is why our elephant friends can deposit upwards of 150 kg of dung daily! Eew!

Elephants are herbivores and only eat grasses, herbs, fruit, plants and trees. Their healthy, vegetarian diet is obviously good for them as the average elephant has a life span of around 70 odd years, a bit like we do Despite their size, they are actually pretty nimble and can walk up to 195 km per day, although they usually only average is only 25 km on a daily basis. They can also run faster than you would expect, easily reaching speeds of 40 mph, which is a lot faster than us humans can run.

Where once elephants roamed across the whole of Africa, they are now limited to conservation areas and the Savannah. African and Asian elephants can currently be found in 37 African countries, and across 13 Asian countries.

Most people believe that there are only two species of elephant in the word, but in fact there are three:

  • African savannah, Loxodonta africana
  • African forest, Loxodonta cyclotis
  • Asian, Elephas maximus

How Much Does An Elephant Weigh?

The largest male elephants can weigh up to 15,000 pounds (6,800 kilograms). For comparison, an average male human weighs about 180 pounds (82 kilograms). How much do elephants weigh at birth? African elephants can weigh up to nearly 200 pounds when born!

How Much Does An African Elephant Weigh?

African elephants are the giants, even by elephant standards. An adult male can carry a full 6 tons with gentle grace. Generally, the females are slightly more petite; however, they can still weigh in at a whopping 3.6 tons or more sometimes.

How do they acquire such impressive robustness on a diet of plants in terrain where food can sometimes be scarce? Well, they graze all day, every day.

In fact, grazing is such a large part of their daily habits they typically spend about 12-18 hours per day foraging for food. Their bodies are well-adapted to sourcing nutrition in unusual places, enabling them to survive in conditions that can range from arid and dusty to lush woodlands.

What Is An Asian Elephant’s Weight (In Tons)?

It weighs a little less than its African cousin, reaching a maximum weight of four or five tons (as opposed to the African elephant’s six or seven tons). An adult male Asian elephant can start at around two tons.

The female Asian elephants are different. They weigh anywhere from two tons to three-and-a-half tons. Although this may seem a lot less than the African elephant, don’t be fooled; they still weigh more than some cars on the market today. The Asian elephant is classified as an endangered species, with between forty thousand and fifty thousand remaining in their natural habitats.

Are Elephants Really The Largest Living Land Animal?

Yes, the African and Asian elephants are the largest living land animals. Males can stand up to 13 feet (4 meters) high at the shoulder.

What Is The Smallest Species Of Elephant?

The Borneo elephant, also known as the Bornean pygmy elephant, is the smallest species of elephant by size. Found in Asia, adult Bornean pygmy elephants stand at less than 5 feet (1.5 meters) high. These elephants can weigh up to 4,000 pounds (1,800 kilograms).

Why Did Elephants Evolve Such Large Ears?

Elephants do not have sweat glands. Instead, they use their large ears, which have a high concentration of veins, to keep cool. By flapping their ears, elephants cool the blood in their ears, which is then transported to the rest of the body.

How Does An Elephant Use Its Trunk?

An elephant’s trunk is like a long, flexible nose. The trunk is used for drinking, bathing, smelling, breathing, trumpeting, and grabbing things. Elephants will also use their trunks to show affection.

Can An Elephant Go For Days Without Water?

Although elephants have large and thick bodies with little fat covering ideal for storing water, elephants are highly dependent on water sources. Even the desert elephant, suited for dry climates, can only go a maximum of 3 days without water. Just behind the tongue of an elephant is a small pouch called the pharyngeal pouch. This area, most commonly used by elephants to make a deep rumbling sound for communication, can store about a gallon of water. Elephants will also use their feet, trunks, and tusks to dig large holes in dry riverbeds and reach water sources.

Do All Elephants Have Tusks?

Both male and female African elephants have tusks, but only male Asian elephants have tusks. Tusks are used as a tool for digging, gathering food, and defending themselves. Elephant tusks are highly prized in the ivory trade, resulting in illegal elephant poaching. IFAW is working in Asia and Africa to reduce market supply and consumer demand for elephant ivory, where the demand is highest

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