Asian Elephant Asian Elephant

SCIENTIFIC NAME:  Elephas maximus

The Asian elephant is a huge, thick-skinned almost hairless mammal that has been domesticated by humans for the last 5,500 years. It’s the largest of extant four footed animals, with a long flexible trunk. Only male Asian elephants have tusks, and these are usually smaller than African tusks.

An Asian elephant differs from an African elephant in that its ears are smaller and shaped differently and it has an extremely large head and short neck. The elephant’s legs are large and columnar and almost equally wide from top to bottom. They have five toes on each forefoot, but the African elephant has three toes and the Asian elephant four toes (sometimes five) on each hind foot.
The Asian elephant’s flexible, muscular trunk, or proboscis, is its most well-known feature. They have an elongated nose with nostrils at the end as well as one finger-like projection with which the elephant can examine, or even grasp, small objects. Elephants drink by sucking water into their trunks and then squirting it into their mouths.

An Asian elephant will move in a single file to a new territory when looking for food. It lives in a matriarchal society and is affectionate with its young and with each other. Rutting occurs late in the rainy season, when females go into heat and males produce high levels of hormone “musth” and act more aggressive.
The Asian elephant may soon become an endangered species because of continued invasions by humans, which fragment their habitat and affect the health and stability of the population. Asian elephants are often captured and domesticated for use as draft animals. Worldwide, the population stands at 42,000-57,5000 (1990 figures).



ANIMAL INFORMATION
HABITATRESTRICTED TO MOUNTAINOUS PARTS OF INDIA, INDOCHINA, SRI LANKA, INDONESIA, AND SOUTHERN CHINA
WEIGHTUP TO 11,000 LB.
HEIGHT8-10 FT.
MATINGRAINY SEASON
GESTATION21-22 MONTHS
YOUNGUSUALLY ONE, TWO ON OCCASION
FAMILYELEPHANTIDAE
ORDERPROBOSCIDEA
HABITCOWS AND YOUNG ARE ONE FAMILY UNIT, BULLS ARE SOLITARY
DIETONLY PLANT MATERIALS, AS MUCH AS 500 LB. PER DAY
LIFE SPANAROUND 60 YEARS


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