Asian Elephant

(Elephas maximus)

The Asian elephant weighs approx. five tonnes and is three metres high, making it the largest land mammal in Asia and thus somewhat smaller than its larger African relative.


South and Southeastern Asia

Tropical rainforests, deciduous forests, savannahs, bushland

Grass, hay, fruits, twigs, bark, roots

approx. 50,000

On average 2.70 m (max. 3.40 m)

Bull approx. 5 t, cow approx. 2.7 t

Gestation period
Approx. 22 months

Achievable age
60 to 70 years in human care, approx. 40 years in the wild

What you should know about the Asian elephant
Asian elephants feed a lot and sleep little – they spend about 17–19 hours alone eating. They devour approx. 150 kg of plant food on a daily basis, which consists mainly of grass, leaves, twigs and tree bark. They can drink up to 150 litres when visiting the water point.

A trunk – many abilities

As opposed to us humans, the nose and upper lip are fused together into one long formation. Using their trunks, they can take in food, breathe, smell, communicate, grasp or suck up water and then blow it into their mouths. If danger threatens, then the otherwise good-natured animals can also make use of their trunks to defend themselves and to inflict deadly blows to enemies.

Typical elephant: loyal and considerate

As social herd animals, elephants live together in large family units consisting of mothers, aunts and daughters, with the most experienced cow being the leader of the group. Bulls join the herd only during the mating season and otherwise move on alone afterwards. Even male offspring leave the herd when they reach 8–10 years – only the cows remain together for a lifetime.

Even a heavyweight at birth
An Asian elephant cow gives birth to her calf after a gestation period of approx. 22 months. Even at birth the small mammal weighs around 100 kg. It takes approx. 15–17 years before an Asian elephant reaches full maturity. While a cow weighs around 2.7 tonnes, an adult bull reaches almost twice as much with a weight of around 5 tonnes.

Is it true, that ...?

Is what I've heard about elephants' memory true, that 'an elephant never forgets'? In fact, Asian elephants are very clever and have a great memory capacity. Humans actually use these powerful pachyderm as workhorses because they can remember more than 25 commands.

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Feeding times

12 p.m., 5 p.m.

All feeding times