Common Name: Asian Elephant Scientific Name: Elephas maximus
ENDANGERED Asian Elephant Distribution: Asia
Habitat: Various Height: Approx. 600cm Weight: Up to 5000kg Diet: Herbivorous
Asian Elephants are much smaller than their African counterparts. They are, on average, 3m (10ft) tall and 6m (25ft) long. The males can weigh up to 5000kg, which is about the same as 62 men! They also have much smaller ears too. African elephants have large rounded ears whereas Asian elephants have smaller squared ears. The Asian Elephant was once found throughout India and South-east Asia. Now it is restricted to small areas of India, Indo-China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia and Southern China. In these countries they live in various habitats including tropical rainforest, tropical deciduous forest and mountains. Asian Elephants are one if the largest herbivorous mammals in the world. In the wild their diet consists mainly of grasses, leaves, trees and shrubs. At Twycross Zoo there are fed cabbage, bread, apples, bananas, carrots, leaves and a manufactured dry food to make sure they get all their vitamins. Female elephants and their offspring are very social and live in ‘herds’. Each herd has a ‘matriarchs’, a mature female leads the group. The ‘matriarch’ will lead the group to the best places to feed and drink and so passing on her knowledge to the nest generation. Males usually wander solitarily only meeting with the females to mate Asian elephants breed, on average, seven times during their lifetime at intervals of between 4 and 6 years. After mating the female is pregnant for 20 – 22 months (almost 2 years). The calf will then suckle for up to 3 years (up to 5 years in captivity). If it is a female then it will remain in the group for its lifetime.