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.
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.
The elephant is the largest land animal on the planet. There are three kinds of elephants with scientist recently splitting the African elephant into two distinct species. The three elephant species are African savanna (or bush), African forest and Asian elephant. Let’s take a look at all three to see how much these giant creatures weigh.
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.
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
Where Do Elephants Come From?
The elephant originated in Africa and Asia, the only regions where wild populations are found today. The earliest elephant fossil remains date back 4 million years ago.
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 A Baby Elephant Weigh?
How many tons is an elephant at birth? A baby elephant weighs an enormous 77-113 kg (0.077-0.113 tons). Newborn elephants are tiny in comparison to their parents, weighing only around 2-4% of an adult’s size. They will consume roughly 11.4 liters of their mother’s milk each and every day.
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 Tall Is An Elephant?
African elephants are the largest land animals in the world today. The average African elephant will grow to between 8.2 to 13 feet (2.5 to 4 m) tall, measured from shoulder to toe, 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 between 9 and 13 feet.
Asian elephants are smaller and tend to reach a shoulder height of between 6.6 and 11.5 feet (2 and 3.5 m) tall.
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.
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. Learn how you can help protect elephants.
Are Elephants Afraid Of Mice?
While this myth about elephants being afraid of mice may be widespread, it’s hardly rooted in fact. While elephants may be startled by mice or other rodents, elephants are no more afraid of mice than other animals that might quickly scurry by.