Difference Between African and Asian Elephants

The elephant is the largest living animal on earth. They are the members of the family called Probosciade.

Probosciaden came into existence thirty-five million years ago, however, the evolution of modern elephant happened five million years ago. Elephants are of wonderful fascination for people of all age groups.

The average life span of an elephant is 60 to 70 years. The best part of the elephant family is, the calves can stand up within 20 minutes of its birth.

There are ideally two species of elephants available on the planet. One is the African Elephant and the other is the Asian Elephant.

While there is contemplation among ecologists about the number of elephant species on earth, these two prominent species adorn the forests of the respective places. But it is for sure that, these two species have been on earth for a very long time.

African vs Asian Elephants

The main difference between an African Elephant and an Asian Elephant is that the ears of the African Elephant is larger than the Asian Elephants. It is so sad that the ears of an African Elephant look like continent Africa.

African vs Asian Elephants


Comparison Table Between African and Asian Elephants (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonAfrican ElephantAsian Elephant
Life SpanAfrican Elephant is observed to live up to 70 years.Asian Elephant has a life span of 40 to 50 years
Size of the EarsThe ear size of an African Elephant is large enough to look like Africa.The ear size of an Asian Elephant is small when compared to the African Elephant.
TusksAll African Male and Female Elephants have tusks.Only Male Elephants have tusks and that too not all.
Food PatternAfrican Elephants are mostly leaf eaters.Asian Elephants are grass eaters.
WeightThe well-grown adult African Elephant weighs between 4000 kg to 7500 kgThe well-grown adult Asian Elephant weighs between 3000 kg to 6000 kg.


What is an African Elephant?

As the name suggests, the African Elephant is a species of elephant hailing from the continent called Africa. It is indeed the largest animal on the planet at the moment.

African Elephant is found in all the thirty-seven countries of Africa. The prominent large ears of the elephant are the huge recognizing factor.

The reason for the ears being larger for this species of elephant is also geologically ascertained. The ears of the elephant help dissipate heat from the body, and Africa is the hottest, it requires a larger ear for dissipating more heat.

There are two subspecies of African elephants; Savanna and the Forest Elephant. Savanna elephants are larger than the bush/forest elephants.

The Savanna elephant’s tusks curve outside. It is indeed fascinating to know that African elephants, irrespective of gender has tusks.

The Forest Elephants of the African species are not only smaller than the Savanna but also darker in shade than that of the larger counterpart. The tusks of the forest elephant are straighter and also point downwards.

The forest elephants are widely found in Congo forests. They are uniquely adapted to the forest conditions and are considered distinct subspecies of African Elephants.

african elephant

What is an Asian Elephant?

The Asian Elephant is the species of elephant that lives in the Asian Continent. Though it is widely said as Asian Elephant, most of the elephants belong to the Indian Subcontinent.

This elephant is the largest living animal in Asia. Asian Elephants are found in 13 countries of Asia.

The zoologists have closely observed the nature of Asian elephants to be sociable. They form groups of 5 to 6 female elephants and the head of the group is predominantly an old female elephant.

The Asian elephants are smaller in size and they weigh between 3000 kg to 4500 kg. The ears of the Asian elephant is round and small.

Asian elephants are observed to be eating most of the time. They spend two-thirds of the day eating. Only a few male Asian Elephants have tusks.

Asian elephants are mostly found in grasslands.

International Union For Conservation of Nature has declared Asian elephants as endangered. The loss of habitat, poaching may be the reason for it. Asian Elephants have a unique trunk, they have the tip of it like a single finger.

This helps them pick up small things.

It is sad to note that at least one-third of the total Asian elephants live in captivity. They are used for shows, entertainment arenas, and many such commercial aspects.

asian elephant

Main Differences Between African and Asian Elephants

  1. The main difference between African and Asian Elephants is the ear structure. The Ear of the African Elephant is larger than that of an Asian Elephant. They have small round ears.
  2. The weight of a well-grown adult African Elephant weighs between 4000 kg to 7500 kg while that of Asians is 3000 kg to 6000 kg.
  3. The African Elephants, irrespective of gender have tusks while only a few male Asian Elephant have tusks.
  4. The shape of the head also varies between the two. The African Elephant has a round dome-like head structure while the Asian elephants have two domed head with an indent running in the middle.
  5. The elephants have the tip of the trunk as a finger-like structure which can be used by them to pick small things, the African elephant has twin finger-like structures while the Asian Elephant has one.
Difference Between African and Asian Elephants



Both these species have minute other differences as well. Like the toenails, skin color and texture and also eating patterns. Nevertheless, it is a nature’s wonder to look at a huge animal being herbivores.

The elephants are named for their intelligence, there is no difference in this between the two species. Same way, the elephants are very loveable too.

Though the zoologists strongly wanting to prove the third of the fourth species of elephant, one thing cannot be ruled out is, both the species are endangered.

Be it the illegal activity of poaching or robbing their habitat by encroached building, both must be stopped.



  1. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/a/african-elephant/
  2. https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/african-elephant
  3. https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/asian-elephant
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