Differences: Asian – African elephant

African Elephant
Asian Elephant
African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
  • Much bigger ears
  • Males and females have tusks
  • Adults weigh between 4,000-7,500kg
  • Smaller heads
  • More rounded, fuller head
  • Tallest at shoulders
  • Trunk has two lobes/fingers
  • Softer, more heavily ringed trunk
  • Less toenails
  • Generally eats more leaves

Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus)
  • Smaller ears
  • Females never have big tusks, most males have tusks
  • Adults weigh 3,000-6,000kg
  • Bigger heads
  • Twin domed head
  • Tallest at the arch of the back
  • Trunk has one lobe/finger
  • Hard, rigged trunk
  • Five toes on forelegs, four toes on hind legs
  • Generally eats more grass
  • The Asian elephant has a prehensile finger at the tip of its trunk which it uses to curl around food to scoop it up. The African elephant has two fingers which can more firmly grasp leaves and grasses.
  • Some female Asian elephants and a small percentage of males have small tusk like teeth known as tushes. They are front incisor teeth and are not ivory.
  • The Asian elephant has ears that are much smaller than those of the African elephant. As the climate is a little more challenging in the hot plains of Africa and flapping the ears are vital for cooling the elephant. Some people say the Asian elephant’s ears look like the shape of India and those of the African like a map of Africa.
African Elephant Portrait
Asian Elephant Portrait
African Elephant Trunk
Asian Elephant Trunk