Differences between Asiatic and African Elephants

The largest land mammals play a vital role as ecosystem engineers. The only surviving members of the Elephantidae family and the Proboscidea order help maintain the rich biodiversity of the spaces. With important cultural and symbolic significance around the world, there are three living species of elephants available in the world: African savannah elephants, African forest elephants and Asian elephants.

The two species of African elephants are the savanna (or bush) elephant and the forest elephant. They share a very small difference in size and the tusks of savannah elephants curve outwards. While small forest elephants are darker and their tusks are straighter and point downwards.

And the different characteristics of Asian elephants and African elephants are as follows:

head and ears

The differences in the appearance of Asian and African elephants are clearly visible, even from afar. African elephants have fuller, rounder heads with a single dome shape, while Asian elephants have a double arch with a dent running down the center of the head.


Source: safarisafricana

Apart from this, the two species also have a visible difference in the size of their ears. African elephants have much larger ears, similar to the shape of Africa, while Asian elephants’ ears are smaller and semicircular. Although the purpose behind the large ears of elephants is the same, to dissipate body heat.

Size and weight

Just not in shape, but African elephants are larger and heavier than Asian elephants. An African elephant can grow up to 4 meters in height compared to Asian males which cannot reach more than 3.5 metres.

Likewise, the observed weight of an African elephant can range between 4,000 and 8,000 kilograms, and that of Asian elephants ranges between 3,000 and 6,000 kilograms.

Fang size and its appearances

All African elephants, regardless of sex, have tusks, while in Asian elephants only males have tusks and females have rudimentary or poorly developed tusks called tusks.

In some rare cases, African elephants are also found without tusks. However, keeping the count balanced, the African elephant’s tusks are larger than those of the Asian elephant.


Elephants use their trunks for drinking, storing, spraying water, and also blowing air to communicate. The African elephant’s trunk has more visible rings and is not as difficult to play as the Asian elephant’s trunk. Apart from this, the trunk of the African elephant.


Source: safarisafricana

The trunk of an African elephant has more visible rings and is not as difficult to touch as the trunk of the Asian elephant. The African elephant’s trunk has two distinct “fingers” that they use to grasp and hold objects. By comparison, Asian elephants only have one “finger” at the end of their trunk.


Well, it’s not just the shape, size and weight, but Asian and African elephants also have differences in the shape of their mouth. The lower lips of the African elephant are short and round, while Asian elephants have long, tapered lower lips.

In addition to the lip part, the teeth of elephants also differ from each other, since the teeth of the African elephant are inclined and those of the Asian elephants are shaped like a compressed diamond.

skin texture


Source: safarisafricana

The outer skin of Asian elephants is smooth and polished, while that of African elephants is more wrinkled and has more cracks. Experts say that these cracks in the body store water to balance body temperature and prevent the animal from dehydrating.

Number of toenails

The difference between the number of toenails in African forest elephants, African bush elephants and Asian elephants is as follows:

  • African forest elephants: 5 nails on the front legs and 4 on the hind legs
  • African savanna elephants: 4 nails on the front feet and 3 on the back feet
  • Asian elephants: 5 nails on the front legs and 4 on the hind legs


Yes, the differences between Asian and African elephants are only external, but also internal. The number of ribs present in African elephants can reach 21 pairs, while Asian elephants survive with an average of 20 pairs of ribs.


African elephants feed on young trees and foliage, acting as ecological filters. And Asian elephants consume grass, bamboo, palm trees and young trees.

Life expectancy

The elephant, the longest-living animal, is also the longest-living mammal other than humans. The life expectancy of an elephant differs depending on its size and physiology:

African elephants: 70 years

Asian elephants: 48 years

Simply put, the differences between Asian and African elephants are in size, weight, and some characteristics. However, these giant mammals are equally important to the ecosystem and wildlife.

Categories: Optical Illusion
Source: sef.edu.vn

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