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African and Asian Elephants

  • There are two types of elephant, the African elephant and the Asian elephant. The African elephants are sometimes split into 2 species, the bush elephant and the forest elephant. The Asian elephant is sometimes referred to as the Indian elephant.
  • African elephants have larger ears than Asian elephants and have rounded, curved backs as opposed to the Asian elephants' concave back. Asian elephants generally have smoother skin than African elephants, which have more wrinkled skin - though it is difficult to think of an elephant's skin as smooth!
  • African elephants have 2 projections on their trunks, while Asian elephants have only a single projection.
  • Both African and Asian elephants are herbivores. African elephants generally eat the bark and young branches from trees and other fibrous plant material. Asian elephants tend to eat more grass. An adult African elephant can eat up to 600lb (270 Kg) of food per day (the Asian elephant eats less), which means that in areas where crops are cultivated elephants can be regarded as agricultural pests.
  • Asian elephants were domesticated thousands of years ago and were used not only as draught animals but also as war animals.
  • Both male and female African elephants have large tusks, but only the male Asian elephant has large tusks. Female Asian elephants have very small tusks, or none at all.



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