Asian elephant

SPECIES PROFILE

Name: the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) – also called the Asiatic elephant – is the largest living land mammal in Southeast Asia.

Appearance: Asian elephants have a distinctive, elongated trunk which can measure up to 2 metres long and contain 60,000 muscles. Their skin is usually grey although may be pigmented on the trunk, ears, and neck. Males have long tusks which they use to dig for water and food.

Size: they are smaller than the closely related African bush elephants. On average, adults reach around 2.8 metres tall and weigh up to 4 tonnes. The largest Asian elephant ever recorded was found in India in 1924. It weighed 7 tonnes and stood 3.4 metres tall.

Diet: Asian elephants are herbivores – consuming up to 150 kg of plant matter every day. They are generalist feeders and have been recorded eating over 100 different plant species.

Did you know: they have large, complex brains, similar to humans, apes, and dolphins. Studies indicate that Asian elephants have the cognitive abilities for tool use and tool making similar to great apes. They also exhibit a wide variety of complex behaviours associated with grief, play, altruism, compassion, cooperation, self-awareness, memory, and language.

Location: Asian elephants inhabit grasslands, forests, and scrublands across Southeast Asia.

BEST PLACES TO SEE asian elephants

According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see Asian elephants are as follows:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Parambikulam
India
100%
very high
3.0
good
1
reports
Udawalawe
Sri Lanka
100%
very high
3.0
good
1
reports

Photo credit: pen_ash under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay