15 interesting facts about elephants

Elephants are terrestrial herbivore mammals. Known for their distinctive looks and sheer size, Elephants are de facto “king of the jungle”. Here are some interesting facts about elephants.

Interesting facts about elephants

  • Elephants are the largest of all terrestrial animals. They are herbivores mammals that are found on the continents of Asia and Africa, thus generally classified as Asian and African elephants. However, the African elephant is a genus comprising of two species, the African bush elephant and the African forest elephant while the Asian elephant is a species comprising of three subspecies, the Indian elephant, the Sri Lankan elephant and the Sumatran elephant.
  • Size chart
Male height (average)Male weight (average)Female height (average)Female weight (average)
African bush elephant3.2 meters6000 kgs2.8 meters3000 kgs
African forest elephant2.7 meters3000 kgs2.1 meters2000-3000 kgs
Asian elephant2.7 meters4000 kgs2.2 meters2700 kgs
  • Elephants are herbivores animals and can eat up to 150 kgs of food every day.
  • Both male and female African elephants have large tusks whereas only male Asian elephants can have large tusks. Female Asian elephants may have barely visible tusks known as tushes. Sometimes even male Asian elephants, especially in Sri Lanka, are not able to develop tusks due to a genetic disorder.
  • Elephant’s ears work as a fan and help in dissipating heat from the body. African elephants have relatively large ear size. The contour of their ears roughly make the map of Africa. Asian elephants too have large ears but not as large as African elephants.
  • Elephants are the keystone species of their ecosystem. It means that their behaviour largely affect the other species of the ecosystem.
  • Adult and old male elephants either live alone or in small male groups. Female along with her offsprings live in a group with other females.
A herd of Asian elephants
A herd of Asian elephants
  • The 22 month gestation period of Elephants is one of the longest among the animal species. The newborn can weigh as much as 120 kgs.
  • Elephants communicate using a wide range of sounds. One of those is a low pitched infrasonic sound which can travel several kilometres.
  • Elephant’s average lifespan is 60-80 years. They live longer in captivity than in the wild.
  • Upon reaching sexual maturity, male elephants enter a state of increased testosterone once a year known as musth. They become highly aggressive during musth.
A male Indian elephant
A male Indian elephant
  • Elephants are one of the most intelligent animals. They are able to recognize themselves in the mirror. They are also known to create and use tools for scratching, digging holes, etc.
  • Sadly elephants are a threatened species now. The Asian elephant is classified as endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) while the African elephant is classified as vulnerable. The main threat that elephants face is of poaching for ivory. Another major threat is habitat loss.
  • African elephants have two fingers at the end of the trunk whereas Asian elephants have only one.
  • The head shape of African elephants is rounded while the Asian elephants have a twin domed head.
  • African elephants have straighter or concave shaped backs whereas Asian elephants have a convex back shape.

Quick question

Which is the largest big cat?


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Answer to quick question

Tiger is the largest of all big cats.

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