The Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) is a large land mammal.
The Asian Elephant has grey, almost hairless, wrinkled skin over its body. Its nose is a long trunk, its ears are fan-like flaps, and its tail is short. It has small dark eyes, a small mouth, and large forward and upturned ivory tusks. Females usually do not have tusks, but might have barely visible tushes (seen only when the mouth is open).
Its legs are thick with large pads for feet. Its front feet have a round sole, and the hind (back) feet have an oval-shaped sole. Its feet have distinct nail-like structures on each foot.
The Asian Elephant grows to 650 centimetres (21 feet) in length, and 275 centimetres (9 feet) tall. The tusks can measure 340 metres (11 feet) long.
It is native to Southeast Asia, from India to Nepal. It prefers tropical rain forests, swamps, coastal regions, and open grasslands.
It eats grass, trees, bushes, fruit, and bark. It uses its long trunk to rip branches from trees to put them in its mouth. It can also pick up small objects of food with its trunk. For drinking, its trunk is used as a siphon to suck up water. Other uses for its trunk include squirting water to keep cool, trumpeting for communication, and snorkeling to breath while underwater.
The Asian Elephant lives in herds of 9-11 females (called cows) and their young (called calves). Males (called bulls) leave the female herd when they are teenagers (about 12 years old), and spend the rest of their lives with other males or wandering alone.
Females give birth to one live young after a pregnancy of 18-22 months.
[Location of photographs: Tbilisi Zoo, Georgia and Berlin Zoo, Germany]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM