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. Charities like Elephants For Africa are working to conserve the elephants’ natural ecosystems, as well as promoting education across the globe, and learning more about elephants using dedicated research programmes.
African 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!
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.
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
Size Of A Male Elephant
African elephants are the largest of all land animals, adult males weighing between 1,800 and 6,300 kg (2 and 7 tons/ 4,000 and 14,000 lb.). Females are smaller, weighing between 2,700 and 3,600 kg (3 and 4 tons/ 6,000 and 8,000 lb.). Shoulder height ranges between three and four m (9.8 and 13.1 ft.).
Adult male Asian elephants weigh between 1,800 and 4,500 kg (2 and 5 tons/ 4,000 and 10,000 lb.), with females weighing slightly less. Shoulder height ranges between 2 and 3.5 m (6.6 and 11.5 ft.).
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 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 The Average Elephant Weigh?
African elephants are the largest land animals in the world today. The average African elephant will weigh between 5,000 to 14,000 lbs. (2,268 to 6,350 kg), according to the National Geographic. However, the largest African elephant ever recorded was found in Angola, rocking in at a massive 24,000 lb (11,000 kg). Male elephants can grow to be significantly larger than their female counterparts. Still a mighty animal, female elephants, or “Cows”, only grow to weigh from 6,000 to 8,000 pounds. Asian elephants tend to be a smaller than their African counterparts, weighing between 4,400 to 11,000 Ibs (2,000 to 5,000 kg).
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.
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 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).
Do All Elephants Have Tusks?
Unlike Asian elephants, in which only males have tusks, both male and female African elephants are tusked. However, due to the hunting pressure on tusked animals brought about by poaching for ivory, tusklessness is an increasingly common condition in African elephants.
I Heard That Elephants Can Regrow Their Tusks – Is It True?
Humans grow two sets of teeth in their lifetimes – the rootless “milk teeth” of childhood and the second, rooted set of teeth which are supposed to last into old age. With the amount of food elephants eat every day, their teeth wear down at alarming rates, and that’s why they grow not two but six sets of chewing teeth (molars) in their lifetimes. Tusks do not wear out so fast, so an elephant does not grow more than one set in its life. In fact, tusks are rootless, just like human milk teeth. However, they do continue to grow in length throughout the lifetime of the elephant.
What Is The Full Purpose Of The Elephant’s Trunk?
The trunk combines both nose and upper lip and transforms them into a single powerful organ that is able to touch, grasp and smell. It is strong enough to uproot a tree, sensitive enough to pick up a pea-sized fruit from the ground, and long enough to reach foliage high in the trees. The trunk is also used to drink by sucking up water and squirting it into the mouth. Finally, elephants use their trunks for greeting, caressing, threatening, and throwing dust over the body.
The elephant’s trunk has about 15,000 muscles and it takes baby elephants quite some time to learn to master its use.
Why Does An African Elephant Have Such Large Ears?
The enormous ears of elephants act as cooling devices. The gigantic earflaps (which can measure up to 2 square metres (21.5 square feet) are equipped with an intricate web of blood vessels. When the animal flaps its ears, the blood temperature lowers by as much as 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit).
Why Is An Elephant’s Skin So Wrinkled?
Wrinkles are also related to the need for these large animals to keep their body temperature down. Wrinkles increase the surface area, so there is more skin to wet when the animal bathes. All the cracks and crevices trap moisture, which then takes much longer to evaporate. Thus, a wrinkly elephant keeps cooler for longer than it would with smooth skin.
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.
Is It True That An Elephant Never Forgets?
Elephants do have remarkable memories. In the wild, elephants appear to remember for years the relationships with dozens, perhaps hundreds of other elephants, some of whom they may see only occasionally. They also have an impressive memory for places to drink and to find food. This information gets passed on from generation to generation.