The Indian elephants are a sub-species of the Asian elephant. These large and bulky elephants are a symbol of cultural prosperity in south-east Asia. They are one of the most intelligent and sensitive animals with females being the most affectionate. Elephants in India are worshipped at some places as they resemble Lord Ganesha, with their boneless trunk swinging around. Even though they are four times bigger than humans, they are quite playful and friendly around people. Throughout history, the mighty Indian elephants have been the favorite chariots and pets of the ancient rulers of India. But now, large-scale efforts are being made to conserve this incredible species curbing their dropping population.
Indian elephants have large heads, but only short necks. They have short, but powerful legs that support their entire body-weight, like columns. Indian elephants have large ears to help them regulate their body temperature, and to communicate with other elephants; however, their ears are smaller than those of African elephants. Indian elephants also have a more curved spine than the African elephant, and their skin color is lighter than that of the Asian elephant, having smaller patches of skin without pigment.
Indian elephants may spend up to 19 hours a day feeding and they can produce about 220 pounds of dung per day while wandering over an area that can cover up to 125 square miles. This helps to disperse germinating seeds. They feed mainly on grasses, but large amounts of tree bark, roots, leaves and small stems are also eaten. Cultivated crops such as bananas, rice and sugarcane are favored foods as well. Since they need to drink at least once a day, these elephants are always close to a source of fresh water.
Indian Elephant Population
Indian elephants can be found throughout mainland Asia, with up to 31,368 elephants in India alone. Over half of these elephants are found in the southern region. Myanmar has the second-most Indian elephants at about 4,000 to 5,000, though the population is greatly broken up.
A few thousand Indian elephants each are found in Malaysia and Thailand, but the number is only in the hundreds in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Laos, China, and Cambodia. There are a few areas in southern Vietnam with elephants, though their numbers are as low as 70 Indian elephants total.
The Indian elephant is on the ICUN Red List as an endangered species. Since the 1950s, the total number of Indian elephants has decreased by 50%, which is what landed the species on the list in 1986. The IUCN’s last update on the population in 2019 indicated that current numbers were needed to see how many are currently left.
Threats To Indian Elephants
Threats to wild Asian elephant populations include habitat loss from deforestation and agricultural development, as well as conflict with humans as elephants seek space and raid crops grown close to their forest habitats.
Most illegal ivory today comes from African elephants, with some 30,000 poached each year. Asian elephants, nonetheless, do still face the threat of poaching for the ivory trade. Only males have tusks, and females have been largely spared.
Incredible Indian Elephant Facts!
- The trunk of this elephant contains no bones. Though it includes both the upper lip and the nose, the entire trunk is made up of 40,000 muscles, which is about 62 times the number of muscles in the entire human body.
- Mothers have the help of other females in their herd to raise their calves. These helpful females are referred to as aunties, and the fathers play a less significant role.
- During the hot months, an they can drink up to 200 liters of water per day. This heavy drinking suggests that the mammal can drink their weight in water almost three times a month
- Indian elephants weigh between 6,000 and 8,000 pounds as an adult, measuring between 18 and 21 feet in length. This length includes their body, head, and trunk. Even a baby is fairly large, measuring weighing up to several hundred pounds as well.
- An Indian elephant spends 19 hours a day just eating.
What Does An Indian Elephant Eat?
These elephants are majorly plant-eaters. They usually feed on grass, leaves, bark, stem, root, and shoots. They also feed on bananas, sugarcane, and rice. Apart from that, they graze on tall grass. Though the blades and shoots can be harmful to their stomach and mouth, the strong trunk of the Indian elephant allows them to remove these parts before they chew them up.
As the habitats of the Indian elephant become smaller, some of their journeys for nutrients take them fairly close to the human populations.
What Type Of Animal Is An Indian Elephant?
The Indian elephant is one of the three subspecies of Asian elephants. Size-wise they are smaller than an African elephant. These Asian elephants even have smaller ears when compared to African elephants. While they are massive in size they are herbivorous and spend around 19 hours a day eating food. Drinking gallons of water in a day, they always prefer staying near sources of water.
How Much Does An Indian Elephant Weigh?
An Indian elephant weighs over 4400 lb – 11000 lb (2000 kg – 3000 kg).
What Class Of Animal Does An Indian Elephant Belong To?
Indian elephant Elephas maximus indicus belongs to the class of mammals. They give birth to their offsprings and nourishes them until they mature.
How Many Indian Elephants Are There In The World?
The Indian elephant is an Endangered species as listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List. At present, there are around 26,000 to 30,000 elephants left. The numbers are the highest in India followed by the other countries of mainland Asia.
What Is An Indian Elephant’s Habitat?
Elephants can survive in a variety of habitats and are found in the wild and in a national park and in protected areas. Grasslands with large bushes and forests with medium-height trees are preferable spots as gathering food is easier here. But the elephant habitat is increasingly being threatened by the human population. Increased human-elephant conflict in agricultural lands and forest edges are encroaching on their habitat.
Who Do Indian Elephants Live With?
These animals live in an elephant herd of an isolated population in their territory. In a forest, they usually live around tall grasses with other animals. Deer, zebra, and other animals comfortably coexist with the large elephants.