- Elephants are huge creatures that can consume up to 350 pounds of plant food per day.
- One of the largest elephants on this list can grow between 6.6 and 9.8 feet tall and weigh between 4,500 and 11,000 pounds.
- Sri Lanka appears to be one of the largest Asian species, with the largest reaching over 12,000 lbs.
Most experts recognize three species of elephants: two from Africa and one from Asia. But which of the three is the biggest?
How big is the largest elephant ever built in the world?
There are some distinguishing features between different species of elephants. Three things worth noting are size, ear shape, and tusks.
Elephants use their tusks for digging, lifting, food gathering and defense. Likewise, whether humans are right-handed or left-handed, there is usually an advantage. You can tell this by looking at the tusks. The dominant side will show wear in the ivory.
Large as a vegetarian. Their diet consists of grasses, fruits, leaves, bark and roots. They consume food for 16-18 hours a day and eat 300-350 pounds of food.
The mother elephant gives birth to a calf every four to five years. The calves stay with the herd for many years and are cared for by the entire herd.
Females will remain in the herd until adulthood, but male calves will leave the herd when they reach puberty.
As a highly intelligent species, elephants can solve problems and display emotions such as compassion and mourning. They would care for others in the herd, tending to the weak or injured, protecting them, and nurturing them back to health.
When meeting elephants in other herds, they greet each other with their trunks, holding them up high or inserting them into each other’s mouths as a greeting.
Below is a list of the largest elephants in the world. First, we’ll analyze which species and subspecies are the largest, then we’ll detail the largest elephants ever recorded!
#3 Largest Elephant: Asian Elephant (elephant)
Adult Asian elephants are 6.6 to 9.8 feet tall, weigh 4,500 to 11,000 pounds, and live up to 60 years. These elephants have small, round ears with a finger-like part that helps them pick up objects.
The tusks grown by male elephants are usually large, but some males have much smaller tusks. The smaller tusks are called tushes and are not always seen outside the mouth. Asian females do not have teeth.
Elephants travel in matrilineal herds. They usually have six or seven females, the oldest of which is the leader. They can communicate over a range of up to 2 miles by making low-pitched sounds.
As a highly social species, elephants sometimes encounter other herds.
The matriarch or oldest female in the herd is responsible for remembering the best places for food, water and shelter.
She will also teach the young elephants in the herd how to socialize.
As herbivores, their favorite foods are bananas, rice, and sugar cane, and they like to eat grass and trees. They are always near a water source.
In Asian cultures, elephants are considered important cultural symbols. There are less than 50,000 extant Asian statues, and there are 3 subspecies of Asian statues. These are Indians, Sumatrans and Sri Lankans.
#3.3 Largest Elephant Subspecies: Sumatran (Sumatran elephant)
Sumatran elephants typically have lighter skin with fewer depigmented spots. Male elephants of the Sumatran subspecies grow shorter tusks that are barely visible in females. They live on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
Sumatran elephants are probably the most social elephant species and they will form herds of 20-35 elephants. Like other elephant elephants, male elephants leave the herd at puberty, while females remain in the herd.
The young female elephants will then take on the role of babysitter for the younger elephants. Communication is essential. Elephants will remain bonded to protect the integrity of their herds.
#3.2 Largest Elephant Subspecies: India (elephant elephant)
India seems to live in the grasslands of Asia, dry deciduous forests, wet deciduous forests, evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, and has frequent activities. They don’t like to stay in one place for more than a day or two.
They are off-territorial and can accommodate up to 20 elephants. Unlike certain other species of elephants, male elephants join the herd.
Human activities and agricultural development have limited the seasonal migration habits of these elephants in the past. Some have been known to raid farms, settlements and plantations within their original range of operations.
Indian statues have been semi-domesticated and used in logging camps and tourism. In the past, they were used as war animals.
#3.1 Largest Elephant Subspecies: Sri Lanka (Elephas maximus)
Sri Lanka appears to be the largest of the Asian species, with the largest individuals exceeding 12,000 lbs! A distinctive feature of Sri Lankan elephants is the absence of pigmentation on the elephant’s ears, face, trunk and abdomen.
Human development has restricted the migration habits of elephants. They are found in open grasslands, forested areas, open savannas, swamps and around lakeshores on the island of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan elephants have symbolic, cultural and economic significance. They take tourists to national parks to see them in the wild. They support logging operations by dragging logs, and have other special meanings in religious practices.
Adult African elephants are 8.2 to 13 feet tall, weigh 5,000 to 14,000 pounds, and live up to 70 years. Larger ears, much like the shape of the continents they inhabit, are a distinctive feature of African elephants.
Males and females grow large tusks with two finger-like sections that help them pick up objects.
The African elephant is larger than the Asian elephant; it is the largest animal on Earth. These elephants live in Africa and have found their home in 37 countries.
They use their trunks and tusks to communicate and handle objects. Large ears are used to dissipate excess heat. Their tusks will extend their entire lifespan.
African statues are also in groups. Mothers and their young will live in a herd for many years. Males are at best in loose relationships.
They prefer a solitary lifestyle. African elephants are considered a threatened species due to fewer poachers seeking ivory ivory and fewer food sources. There are currently 400,000-500,000 African elephants.
There are two kinds of African elephants: the savanna or jungle elephant and the forest elephant.
#2 Largest Species: Forest Elephants (ringed elephant)
The forest subspecies of the African elephant is the smaller of the two subspecies. They are slightly smaller, oval in shape, and the tusks are straighter and point downward.
Standing 8-10 feet tall and weighing 2-5 tons, the elephant makes its home in the dense forests of Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Cameroon, and the Central African Republic and Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Ghana in West Africa.
The subspecies is considered critically endangered, with 60 percent of its population lost in the past decade to poachers looking for ivory.
The species has difficulty reproducing fast enough to make up for this population loss because they do not reach sexual maturity until they are 23 years old. Pregnancy also takes about two years.
Experts say that assuming poaching stops now, it will take more than 80 years to recover 60 percent of the losses.
#1 African Elephant Species: Savanna or Jungle Elephant (African ivory)
The larger of the two African elephants is the savannah elephant. Their large ears and legs set them apart. The front legs of savannah elephants are longer than the hind legs.
The savannah is home to eastern and southern Africa, especially Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Namibia, Mozambique, and South Africa.
They also travel in groups, with an average of 10 mothers and their children. Males follow only during mating season. Sometimes herds gather into larger clans of several hundred members.
The savannah elephant has 40,000-120,000 muscles and tendons in its trunk and can lift up to 400 pounds. They will lift objects with their noses or suck water up their noses and blow into their mouths to drink or blow on their backs to cool them down.
Male elephants use their tusks to compete with other males for mating rights, and males with the largest tusks tend to have more offspring.
Poachers look for elephants with the largest tusks so they can get more tusks. As a result, the tusks of mating males became smaller. The sad consequence is that future generations will have smaller or even no tusks.
Reward: Largest Elephant Ever Recorded
Every year millions of tourists see the largest elephants ever seen. That’s because the specimen is in the rotunda of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History!
The statue was named “Henry” and stood 13 feet tall. He was shot in Angola in 1956 and sent to the Smithsonian Institution in 1959. Weighing 24,000 pounds, Henry was the largest elephant ever built.
Biggest Elephant Summary
Elephants are huge creatures, here is a summary of the article:
|largest elephant in the world|
|6. Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)|
|5. Sumatran elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus)|
|4. India (elephant elephant)|
|3. Sri Lanka (Elephas maximus)|
|2. Forest elephant (ringed elephant)|
|1. Savanna or Jungle Elephant (African ivory)|
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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