Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Proboscidea

Family: Elephantidae

Genus: Elphas

Species: Elphas maximus

Native Habitat

Asian elephants are fond of habitats that vary between grassy glades and forest. They used to be found in areas south of the Himalayas and throughout southeast Asia. However, now they are limited to small areas of India and southeast Asia, such as Sumatra and Borneo.

Characteristics

With a brain weighing between 4 - 6 kg (9 - 13 pounds), Asian elephants are thought to be highly intelligent animals. You may have wondered why elephants often flap their large ears - this behavior helps to keep their brain and body cool as their ears contain multiple blood vessels. Tusks are used to dig for minerals as well as defense, and their grey skin ranges from 1 inch thick to paper-thin, which they protect from the sun with dirt and mud.

Diet

As herbivores, elephants feed mainly on grass, but leaves, roots and vines also make up a large proportion of their diet.  They also must drink around 50 gallons (189 litres) of water per day. Due to their huge daily nutritional requirement, elephants will migrate to find vegetation and water to meet their needs.

Conservation

The International Union for Conservation for Nature lists Asian elephants as endangered

 
 
 
 
 

© 2020 by Joanna Patterson-Cross

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