Asian elephants are sometimes known as Indian elephants. They are one of the three living species of elephant. Asian elephants are found mostly in India, Indochina, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants and Asian elephants also have smaller ears. This is one of the best ways to tell Asian elephants apart from African elephants. The height of an Asian elephant ranges from 7-12 feet and they weigh approximately 3.25 to 5.5 tons. There are other physical characteristics that separate Asian elephants from their African counterparts. They have a more arched back and also have more nails on the feet. While both male and female African elephants have tusks, female Asian elephants usually do not have these tusks. Females that do have tusks often have tusks that are small and hard to see.
Behavior of Asian Elephants
Elephants travel in migratory routes that are seasonal in nature. These routes often take the Asian elephants through wet and dry zones. The oldest member of the herd is the elephant charged with remembering where the routes lead. Asian elephants live for about 60 years when they are in the wild and 80 years when they are in zoos and other captive environments. The females live in small groups that are led by the oldest female in the group. The herd that elephants travel in consists of relative elephants. Male elephants are called bull elephants. They like to travel alone and often become involved in conflicts over female elephants during the mating season.
Domestic Use of Asian Elephants
Asian elephants have been domesticated for many purposes. In Southern and Southeast Asia, elephants have been used for forestry purposes because their tusks and large size make it easy for them to knock down small trees and brush. Asian elephants have also been used during ceremonies for many centuries. Some areas charge money to tourists to see Asian elephants in the wild, but it is difficult to do this because elephants may damage property.
Danger of Asian Elephants
Because of their size, Asian elephants are rather dangerous. They have tusks and large bodies that can be used to destroy property and cause harm to humans and other animals. Adult males are particularly aggressive because of the surge in testosterone they experience after they go through puberty. This aggression gives them the ability to cause a lot of damage in a short amount of time.
Subspecies of Asian Elephants
There are four subspecies of Asian elephants. The Indian elephant (E. m.indicus) lives in southern India, northwest India, and the foothills of the Himalayans. This subspecies has males that usually have tusks. The Sri Lankan elephant (E. m. maximus) only lives in Sri Lanka. Most of the elephants do not have tusks whether they are male or female. The Sumatran elephant (E. m. sumatrensis) lives in Sumatra. This elephant is sometimes known as the pocket elephant because of its small size. The Borneo elephant (E. m. borneensis) is the smallest subspecies and lives in north Borneo. Even though this is the smallest subspecies, it has the biggest ears.
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