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Asian elephants are the largest living terrestrial mammal of Asia. There are three subspecies of this kind found in Sri Lanka, India and the Sumatra islands. They are social animals with a deep sense of altruism.
See the fact file below for more information on the asian elephants or alternatively, you can download our 27-page Asian elephant worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Habitat, Anatomy, and Life Cycle
- Scientific Name: Elephas maximus
- Common Name: Asian Elephant
- Family: Elephantidae
- Classification: Mammal
- Habitat: Forest and Grassland in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia
- Average Life Span: 60 years
- Diet: Herbivore
- Conservation Status: Endangered
- Average Mass: 5,400 kg (adult male), 2,700 kg (adult female)
- Asian Elephants are found in tropical rainforest, mountainous forests, shrublands and grasslands of India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and parts Southeast Asia.
- They can also be found near agricultural fields where there is plenty of water and food.
- Compared to African elephants, Asian elephants are smaller in height and length but share the same anatomy.
- Asian elephants have a long trunk as the upper lip and it’s used for breathing, smelling, digging, stripping, pushing and trumpeting. It has more than 40,000 muscles, making it extremely flexible and strong. This exploratory organ can easily manipulate objects. An average elephant can also hold up to 4 liters of water in its trunk.
- Compared to African elephants with two prehensile fingers at the tip of its trunk, Asian elephants have only one, which is used to scoop things up.
- Only male Asian elephants have elongated incisor teeth, commonly known as tusks. Tusks are elephants’ age indicators, much like their feet.
- Unlike female African elephants, their female cousins in Asia lack tusks. Instead, female Asian elephants have rudimentary tusks called tushes.
- Like the trunk, tusks can do many tasks such as digging, ripping bark off trees, carrying heavy objects, foraging and as a weapon for fighting.
- Elephants are either left-tusked or right-tusked. The favored tusk is usually shorter than the other due to frequent use.
- In calf or baby elephants, tusks are like their milk teeth, which measures up to 5 cm long before falling out on their first birthday. Permanent tusks will start to protrude at the of two to three.
- In India, 50% of male Asian elephants are tuskless, also known as “Makhnas.” This is caused by a hereditary condition resulting to variation in the musculature and shape of the neck and the head.
- An elephant’s brain is four times larger than a human’s. It is located at the back of the skull away from the forehead. Their brain is known to be the largest of all land mammals that ever existed. Elephants’ brain development is quite similar to humans, making them one of the most intelligent animals.
- Both African and Asian elephants are born with thick hair. An elephant fetus is covered with Lanugo or a mass of long and downy hair, which it sheds before being born. Thick hair is visible on their tail, head and back.
- Asian elephants have smaller ears than African elephants. Their ears do not cover the shoulder compared to African elephants, but both use their ears as signaling organs. Moreover, their ears regulate body temperature during the hot season.
- Asian elephants have five toes on the front feet and four on the back feet. They walk on the tips of their toes, similar to horses, sheep, rhinos and camels. The sole of the foot is made of fatty tissue, which serves as a shock absorber, allowing them to move quickly and quietly.
- The footprint can dictate the age of an elephant. Younger elephants leave a more defined footprint compared to older elephants, with undefined footprints due to worn heels.
- Asian elephants have finer skin than African elephants. They are sometimes plain colored except for white spots around the ears and forehead.
- The life cycle of Asian elephants is the same as African elephants, which is typically divided into three periods: baby, adolescent and adult. An elephant is a calf from birth to 10 years old. Calves are totally dependent on their mothers for hygiene, food and learning.
- The gestation period for Asian elephants is 20- 22 months.
- At the age of 10 to 17, elephants approach physical adulthood but are mentally adolescent. They become more independent with tendencies to break away from the main herd.
- An elephant is considered an adult when it reaches the age of 18. Female Asian elephants usually start to reproduce at the age of 20 and are capable of giving birth until the age of 50.
- Asian elephants are herbivores, meaning they feed on grass, herbs, bark, leaves and fruit.
- Asian elephants are social animals known for living in large herds composed of females and their offspring. The most experienced female leads the herd, especially during migrations.
- Males leave the herd when they reach puberty. They travel with and gather in bachelor herds. As adults, male Asian elephants prefer to live alone.
- Sexually mature male elephants are called bulls, while sexually mature females are called cows. Females reach maturity earlier than males. They can give birth to a calf at 2.5 to 4-year intervals.
- Given their complex brain, elephants can mimic, communicate, play and show emotions. They conduct death rituals. When an elephant dies, other elephants gather and cover the deceased with leaves and sand.
- Weeping can be heard in the form of loud screams. In addition, elephants from other groups visit graves.
Endangered Asian Elephants
- In some parts of Asia, elephants are used for carrying heavy loads and humans.
- At the beginning of the 20th century, more than 100,000 Asian elephants existed but numbers declined over the subsequent decades.
- According to WWF, among the reasons for population decline are the following:
- Habitat loss and fragmentation
- Human-wildlife conflict
- Poaching and capture.
- In India, Vietnam and Myanmar poaching is banned to conserve the wild herds.
- Today, ivory hunters tend to kill elephants because of the lengthy tusks hidden inside the skull. Their meat and skin are also for sale.
Asian Elephant Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about asian elephants across 27 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Asian Elephant worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Asian elephants which are the largest living terrestrial mammal of Asia. There are three subspecies of this kind found in Sri Lanka, India and the Sumatra islands. They are social animals with a deep sense of altruism.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Asian Elephant Facts
- Elephant Skeletal System
- Types of Asian elephant
- Class Mammalia
- Asian Elephant World
- Fact or Bluff
- Scientific Classification
- Compare and Contrast
- Conservation Plan
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Link will appear as Asian Elephant Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 27, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.