The Elephant Conundrum

Do you know the difference between the African (Loxodonta) and Asian Elephant (Elephas Maximus)?

Well these 2 types of elephant (mind you, I said types not species) have various differences, Let's explore!


It is important to note that african elephants have two distinct species as well, the savannah and the forest elephant. They also differ from each other but we're gonna focus on the savannah species.

  • 1. Ears

African elephants have "Africa-shaped" ears that are larger. The larger surface area ensure that the big animal keeps cool, however Asian elephants have less to worry about as they live in cool jungle areas hence their ears are smaller.

  • 2. Size

Asian elephants are significantly smaller than African elephants.

  • 3. Tusks

In the Loxodontas genus generally (but not always) both males and females have tusks but in the Elephas genus, the tusk story is a little more complicated...

You see, Males have tusks and females while they don't have tusks, they have tushes. There are differences between tushes and tusks, we'll cover that later.

  • 4. Trunks

Take a look at these trunks and see if you can spot the difference.

African elephant Asian elephant

Have you found it?

If you look closely you will see that the African elephant has 2 tips on it's trunk and the Asian elephant has 1 tip only. The reason for this is that 2 tipped trunks are more useful for grabbing leaves and grasses, while one-tipped trunks are used for grabbing food off the ground.


While these are just a few of the differences, there are many more to discover... To learn more visit the Phangngae Elephant Park or Watch the Wild Kratts episode on elephants. (Elephant Brains)

Stay Wild and Stay Safe!


Image credits: Wix

More sites you can visit:,male%20Asian%20elephants%20are%20tuskless.


*Into Our Wild does not sponsor any of the listed sites

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