Asian Elephant (Indian)

Elephas Maximus Indicus

Scientific Name

Asian Elephant (Indian):  
Elephas Maximus Indicus

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

The Asian elephant is found in India, Burma, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra, and Sri Lanka.

Natural Habitat

The Asian elephant inhabits varying terrain from open plains to dense forests.

Physical Characteristics

  • The Asian elephant is the second largest land mammal, second only to the African elephant. Dark gray in color, the head is high, domed, and has two bumps. Asian elephants range in height from seven to nine feet at the shoulder, and weigh up to five tons. The elephants’ feet have a dense padding of elastic tissue, and there are nails present on the toes. The trunk, which is strong and flexible, is used for picking up food and water and for bringing it to the mouth. The trunk also possesses a membrane about half way up to prevent the passage of solid or liquid materials.

Quick Facts

  1. Asian elephants have well-developed senses of smell and hearing, but their eyesight is poor.

  2. Asian elephants are extremely endangered. There are between 29,000 and 44,000 left in the wild. They are killed for food in some areas, but mainly to prevent crop destruction.

  3. Asian elephants communicate via rumbles, growls, bellows, and moans.


Elephant House and Yard

Conservation Status

Critically Endangered: The Asian Elephant (Indian) is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

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In the wild, elephants eat all types of vegetation, including grass, leaves, bark, vines, roots and fruit. In human care, they receive hay, grain, fruits and vegetables. The elephants each drink thirty to forty gallons of water per day.