The 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
An elephant’s trunk is a very impressive multi-tool. Besides being a long nose used for smelling, breathing and trumpeting, it is also used as a hand to grab things – it is sensitive enough to pick up a blade of grass, and strong enough to rip the branches off a tree. The trunk is also used as a huge straw – elephants can suck up to 14 litres of water a time into their trunks and then blow this water into their mouths to drink. When bathing, they also use their trunk to spray themselves with water and mud. A great pub quiz question is how many muscles in an elephant’s trunk? Amazingly the answer is 40,000!
Elephants can range from 5,000 pounds to more than 14,000 pounds (6,350 kilograms). According to the World Wildlife Fund, an average African elephant weighs about 12,000 pounds (5,443 kilograms). Even a baby African elephant can weigh between 200-300 pounds (90.7-136 kilograms) at birth!
Facts about Elephant Size
African elephants are the largest land animals in the world today. The largest African elephant ever recorded was found in Angola, rocking in at a massive 24,000 lb (11,000 kg), with a shoulder height of 3.96 meters (13.0 ft), and being at least a metre taller than the average male African elephant!
The average African elephant will grow to between 8.2 to 13 feet (2.5 to 4 meters) from shoulder to toe and weigh between 5,000 to 14,000 lbs. (2,268 to 6,350 kilograms), according to the National Geographic.
Male elephants can grow to be significantly larger than their female counterparts. Still a mighty animal, female elephants, or “Cows” only grow to somewhere around 9 and 13 feet and weigh from 6,000 to 8,000 pounds.
Both genders grow ivory tusks, which are actually elongated incisor teeth. However, the male’s tusks are longer and heavier, weighing between 110 and 175 pounds each. Females’ tusks weigh approximately 40 pounds each.
African elephants are famous for their very large ears. Considered to be shaped much like the continent of Africa itself, the large surface area of their ears helps to keep them cool in the blazing hot African sun.
Where Do Elephants Come From?
There are three species of elephants in the world, and where each one can be found depends on the species. In Africa, there are two species of elephant. The loxodonta africana African elephant lives in the African Savannah and in the Sahel desert in Mali. This is the biggest species of elephant in the world. The slightly smaller loxodonta cyclotis African elephant lives in the rainforests of Central and West Africa.
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. The elephas maixmus species of elephant (Asian elephant) can be found in Nepal, India and Southeast Asia in scrub forests and rain forests.
How Many Elephants Are There In Africa And Why Are African Elephants Endangered?
There are now only an estimated 400,000 African elephants left in the wild. African elephants are endangered largely owing to man’s greed for ivory which had to elephants being hunted and killed for their valuable tusks. To give you an idea of just how many elephants are lost to the ivory trade, in the 1970’s there were 1.3 million elephants. Less than a third of that number are now left. African Forest Elephants living in the forests of the Basin are at the greatest risk from the threat of poachers than any other species and their numbers continue to steadily decline.
Moreover, humans are responsible for huge habit loss of African elephants. As the human population in Africa increases, more and more land is converted to agriculture. A smaller habit has meant that elephants and humans are coming into contact with one another more than they did historically, and this is causing conflict. Elephants are very intelligent creature and sometimes raid farmers’ crop for food. This can lead to both humans and elephants being killed in the conflict.
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!
Average Weights Of Different Types Of Elephants:
- African elephant – 14,000 pounds (6,350 kg)
- Asian elephant – 11,000 pounds (4,989 kg)
- Indian elephant – 10,000 pounds (4,535 kg)
- Sri Lankan elephant – 12,000 pounds (5,443 kg)
- Sumatran elephant – 8,800 pounds (3,991 kg)
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 Much Does An Elephant Eat A Day?
Elephants are gigantic animals and this means that they need to find an eat an awful lot of food. Their daily food intake is almost as much as 4-7% of their body weight. African elephants can eat as much as 330 Ibs (150 kg) of food a day.
What Is Elephant Dung And How Much Does Elephant Poop Weigh?
Much of the grasses and plants that elephants eat aren’t actually digested by elephants so this simply comes out in their dung. In fact, because of this, some animals like monkeys and dung beetles actually eat elephant dung!
And there’s plenty of it around. Our elephant friends can deposit upwards of 150 kg of dung daily! Eew!