The Asian elephant range covers India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo and Brunei Darussalam.
The habitat of the Asian elephant covers a variety of terrain from thick jungle to open grassy plains at all elevations. Elephants are more likely to be found in scrub forest, especially near grassy areas.
- Asian elephants are 18-21 feet (5.5-6.4 m) long.
- Male Asian elephants average 11,500 pounds (5,221 kg) and may weight up to 15,000 pounds (6,810 kg); females average 7,700 pounds (3,465 kg) but may weigh up to 9,000 pounds (4,050 kg).
- Male Asian elephants average 10.5 feet (3.2 m) tall at the shoulder; females average eight and a half feet (2.6 m) tall at the shoulder
- Their thick skin is dark gray and wrinkled.
- The distinctive trunk is an extended muscular lip and nose.
- Female Asian elephants do not have tusks but do have small tushes inside the mouth.
- They have large floppy ears to help regulate body temperature.
What Does It Eat?
In the wild: Leaves, roots, grasses, fruits and bark.
At the zoo: Grass hay, textured grain, alfalfa, greens (spinach, kale and lettuces), apples, carrots, corn and sweet potatoes. Supplements include Vitamin E and mineral salts. Treats include horse candy and ice treats. Browse is provided when available.
What Eats It?
Asian elephant calves are subject to predation by lions and tigers. Adult Asian elephants have no known predator other than humans.
Female Asian elephants live in herds of a dozen or more related females of all ages led by the largest, oldest female called the matriarch. All females in the herd help raise the young. Males remain with the herd until they reach puberty at about 12 years. Then they are forced out of the herd and may join a loose group of young bulls, although most mature bulls are solitary.
Males are sexually mature at eight to 12 years; females at six to 10 years. Males are usually not large enough to compete for females until they are in their mid-20’s. After a gestation of 22 months, female elephants give birth to a single calf weighing 200-250 pounds (90-113 kg). Newborn calves are capable of walking within an hour of birth. Baby elephants suckle with their mouth, not their trunk, and consume two to three gallons of milk daily. By four months, calves begin feeding on vegetation in addition to milk. Due to the long period of dependency, females only give birth once every four to five years. Female calves remain in their natal group but males are forced out when they reach puberty at about 12 years. Elephants may live as long as 60 years.