Here's the difference between an Asian vs African elephant. 

The different types of elephants

There are two different kinds of elephants: the African elephant and the Asian elephant. Although both are elephants they have their differences. People typically tend to confuse them. Let us explain the differences between an Asian vs African elephant


As each of these species name indicate, they live in different locations. African elephants live in sub-Saharan Africa. What many people don’t know is that there are two different types of African elephants. 

One population, the African forest elephants live in the west and central forest regions of Africa. The other population, the African savannah elephant, live in the eastern and southern parts of Africa - like Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa. 

Asian elephants live in Asia in forest regions. These species can be found in the regions of India and Southeast Asia - like Mayanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. One thing to note about Asian elephants is that a third of the Asian population is in captivity


Elephants are huge in size, but even between the two there is a difference. Asian elephants are much smaller than African elephants. An Asian elephant can grow up to 6.6 to 6.8 feet in height and weigh up to 2.25 to 5.5 tons. However, an African elephant can grow up size to 8.2 to 13 feet and weigh up to 2.5 to 7 tons


When you think of an elephant what do you think? Do think of an animal that is large, has a long nose and big ears? You are halfway correct!  Beyond the basic traits, there is a distinct difference between an Asian vs African elephant. 

For starters, Asian elephants have smaller ears than African elephants. The reason behind this is because elephant’s ears help dissipate body heat. African elephants have to endure hotter temperatures compared to an Asian elephant. 

Another difference between an Asian and African elephant is their tusks. All African elephants have tusks. However, male Asian elephants are the only ones with large prominent tusks. Female elephants and some male elephants have tushes, which are small tusks. 

Conservation status

One major difference between an Asian vs African elephant is their conservation status. African elephants are a vulnerable species. This category means that this species is not yet endangered of becoming extinct but could become in the future. The threats to an African elephant include poachers, habitat loss and lack of survival in captivity

However, an Asian elephant is on the endangered list. This category means that the species is in danger of becoming extinct. As of right now there an estimated 20,000 to 40,00 Asian elephants left in the wild. The threats to Asian elephants include habitat loss, poachers and tourism trade. 

Taking the first step to educating people between an Asian vs African elephant can raise awareness of the importance of both are to the environment. Let us bring to the conversation about saving elephants to your community. Contact us today to share our mission to saving the elephants through formal and informal presentations at your school or business.  

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