About Elephants


About Elephants Trunk Full of Tales


"Whether sad, angry, distressed, eager, or playful, elephants are this in a big way" Joyce Poole quoted in The Fate Of The Elephant

Please don't ever buy Ivory. Save an elephant and make your money work for them not against them. If you travel to exotic places or even to a shopping mall near you, never buy anything that looks like ivory as it probably is. Make your voice count and say "NO" to ivory.


Quick Physical Statistics

  • Elephants typically reach puberty at thirteen or fourteen years of age
  • They have offspring up until they are around fifty years old
  • They may live seventy years or possibly more
  • A cow produces a single calf and in very rare cases twins
  • The interval between births is between two and a half to four years
  • An elephant´s trunk, a union of the nose and upper lip, is a highly sensitive organ with over 100,000 muscle units.

Do you want more physical information? Please see the anatomy section!

Interesting Facts

  • Elephant trunks can get very heavy. It is not uncommon to see elephants resting them over a tusk!
  • Elephants cry, play, have incredible memories, and laugh!
  • Elephants are sensitive fellow animals where if a baby complains, the entire family will rumble and go over to touch and caress it.
  • Elephants have greeting ceremonies when a friend that has been away for some time returns to the group.
  • Elephants grieve at a loss of a stillborn baby, a family member, and in many cases other elephants.
  • Elephants don't drink with their trunks, but use them as "tools" to drink with. This is accomplished by filling the trunk with water and then using it as a hose to pour it into the elephant's mouth.
  • Interestingly, the Asian elephant is more closely related to the extinct mammoth than to the African elephant (see evolution).
Elephant Drinking

Asian African Elephant  

"Therefore understanding that rests in what it does not understand is the finest" Chuang Tzu translated by Burton Watson

An Introduction to Elephant Impact
A Super Keystone Species

It seems inevitable that as long as we humans impose our own theories on how to best govern nature, there will be a difference of opinion of "animal" management. Over the course of evolution, the elephant as we know it today has evolved into a strong forced bulldozer that has the power to modify the landscape it resides in. For elephants their effect on the landscape is often considered destruction, but is it?

The answer to this question partially depends on your preconceived views of "nature". If you see nature as something static and in a particular way then any change no matter how minute will amount to destruction. An interesting statistic found in the book African Elephants: A Celebration of Majesty about this issue; a general estimation shows that Man is clearing more forests in one day that all the elephants in Africa will 'destroy' within one year. Put in perspective, the effect that elephants have on their environment may not be as serious are we have been led to believe.

Unfortunately for some, our narrow opinion of seeing elephants as only living bulldozers of destruction is far from the case. As much as 80 percent of what elephants consume is returned to the soil as barely digested highly fertile manure.

The Ecological Impact of the Elephant is Priceless!

  • Elephants provide a vital role in the ecosystem they inhabit.
  • They modify their habitat by converting savannah and woodlands to grasslands
  • Elephants can provide water for other species by digging water holes in dry riverbeds
    • the depressions created by their footprints and their bodies trap rainfall
  • Elephants act as seed dispersers by their fecal matter. It is often carried below ground by dung beetles and termites causing the soil to become more aerated and further distributing the nutrients
  • Their paths act as firebreaks and rain water conduits
  • An Elephants journey through the high grass provides food for birds by disturbing small reptiles, amphibians or insects.

Please see Impact for more information

Elephant Impact On Environments

In the tradition of elephant sites, we have provided a breakdown of elephants into two categories for basic physical statistics. Keep in mind that the two "groups" are quite different genetically and the Asian elephant (as noted) is actually more closely related to the extinct mammoth than the African elephant.


Sri Lankan
Elephas Maximus Maximus

Elephas Maximus Indicus

Elephas Maximus Sumatranus


2-3.5 metres

2-3 metres

2-2.5 metres


3-5 tonnes

2.5-4.5  tonnes

2-4 tonnes


grey with large areas of depigmentation

lighter grey

very light grey

The Asian elephant, Elephas Maximus, has an enormous domed head with relatively small ears, an arched back and a single finger like protuberance that is located at the tip of the trunk. An Asian elephant has five toes on the front of the feet and and four on the back.  

A large bull could typically weighs six tons and is ten feet high at the shoulder. As with gorillas, there is a large degree of sexual dimorphism between males and females in Asian Elephants where adult females are about half the size of the largest males.  

The males have tusks and the females have 'tushes', which are shore second incisors that just stick out beyond the upper lip. However, it is important to note that on occasion females some times have longer tushes than described. 

The gestation period is between nineteen and twenty-two months. Periodically, it is noted that male infants typically have a slightly longer term than females.  


Loxodonta Africana Africana

Loxodonta Africana Cyclotis


3-4 metres

2-3 metres


4-7 tonnes

2-4 tonnes



dark grey

The African elephant, Loxodonta Africana, have a straight back, enormous ears, and two trunk 'fingers'. 

2fingerscloseupAfrican elephants are named for the peculiar shaped ridges of their molar teeth; the ridges of an African elephant's teeth are coarser and fewer than those of the Asian elephant.

The African elephant has only four toes on the front feet and three on the back. Interestingly, it has one more vertebra in the lumbar section of the spine. 

Both sexes have tusks, and they are also larger in size as compared to male and female Asian elephants. 

The largest African elephant recorded weighed over nine tons and stood more than twelve feet high at the shoulder. As in Asian elephants, the female African elephant is generally half the size of a fully grown male. 

Gestation period tends to be slightly longer than in the Asian elephant. 

Why is this elephant crying?

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