The world’s largest animal: How many types of elephants are there? Explanation of habitat, ecology, characteristics, and lifespan


The world’s largest animal How many types of elephants (Asian elephant, African elephant, etc.) are there? We will explain its habitat, ecology, characteristics, and lifespan. Elephants are the world’s largest animals, and they are also the most recognizable animals. If you go to a zoo, you can see many elephants, but the reality is that many people don’t know just how many different types there are.

What is an elephant? About basic status

Elephant is a general term for mammals belonging to the family Elephantidae. The number of wild elephants is decreasing due to deforestation and other factors. International trade is also restricted by the Washington Convention. The habitat distribution is India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Africa, etc.

scientific name(学名)Elephantidae

Features: long nose and big ears

The elephant’s most distinctive feature is its long trunk and large ears. They have a long, muscular snout that is larger than others and can be used dexterously to carry food and water to their mouths. They can also bask in the sun by spraying water on their bodies using their noses. Their large ears allow them to detect enemies far away.

What is the ecology like?

Elephants live in herds with females and their children, and males live alone or in separate groups. The reason for this is that adult animals always surround young animals to protect them from predators such as tigers, humans, and lions. Their lifespan is said to be around 60 to 80 years, with some individuals living longer.

What kind of food do you eat?

Elephants choose and eat grass, leaves, fruits, vegetables, etc. It requires 150 kg of plants and 100 liters of water per day, and requires a large amount of food. For this reason, an adult animal produces an average of 100 kg of feces per day. Due to environmental destruction such as deforestation, elephants cannot obtain the food they need and end up dying.

very high cognitive ability

Elephants have such high cognitive abilities that they can even tell humans apart. They will sweeten and greet people who treat them kindly, and they may crush people who attack them. Elephants are also artists. As you can see in the video below, the elephant is demonstrating the art of painting. It attracted a lot of attention at the event in Thailand.

How many types of elephants are there?

There are three types of elephants: African elephants, Asian elephants, and forest elephants. Originally, there were two types of elephants: African elephants and Asian elephants, but recently, as general research has progressed, forest elephants have come to be recognized as a third species. However, as you can see below, it is only found in tropical regions of Africa and Asia. Unfortunately, all species are listed as endangered.

academic name
body length
African elephant
Loxodonta africana6〜7.5m~7.5tSouth of the Sahara Desert
Asian elephant
Elephas maximus5〜6.4m~5.4tSoutheast Asia、South Asia
African forest elephant
Loxodonta cyclotis4〜6m2.7〜6tWest Africa

What is an African elephant?

African elephants are African elephants that live south of the Sahara Desert. The auricles are very large and wide and help dissipate heat. Incisors (tusks) are developed in both males and females and are used for digging in the soil and during fights. There are several subspecies of African elephants, and the forest elephant was previously considered to be a subspecies of the African elephant. There is another subspecies called the savannah elephant. The African elephant’s main habitat is the savannah. Both species have been listed on CITES Appendix I since 1975, when CITES came into force. IUCN status is ENDANGERED.

What is an Asian elephant?

Asian elephants are characterized by the fact that the wrinkles on their trunks are not very prominent. The auricles are small, and there are five hooves on the front legs and four hooves on the hind legs. Asian elephants live in the forest areas of Southeast Asia and South Asia and are comprised of four subspecies. They are the Ceylon elephant, Indian elephant, Sumatran elephant, and Bornean elephant. Both species have been listed on CITES Appendix I since 1975, when CITES came into force. IUCN status is CRITICALLY ENDANGERED.

What is forest elephant?

The forest elephant was previously thought to be a member of the African elephant family. It looks very similar to an African elephant. The auricles are small and rounded. There are five hooves on the front legs and four on the hind legs. Forest elephants mainly live in tropical rainforests, and their numbers are declining dramatically due to habitat destruction caused by hunting for ivory and agricultural land development due to population growth. It is also listed in Appendix I of the Washington Convention. IUCN status is CRITICALLY ENDANGERED.

Why have elephants become an endangered species?

African elephants, Asian elephants, and forest elephants are all listed as endangered species. Elephants are animals that are very familiar to humans, and we have had a close relationship with them since ancient times. Why has it become an endangered species? I will explain the cause. This is information that is happening all over the world, and is not just a story in Japan. Each species is at risk of becoming extinct due to human factors rather than natural influences. Conservation efforts are needed.

Overhunting for ivory continues

Ivory is the reason why elephants have been overhunted in large numbers by humans. Ivory is a beautiful material and is highly sought after in the arts, crafts, and manufacturing industries, and sells for a high price. Illegal overhunting of living creatures has progressed in society, and elephants are being killed one after another by humans.

Rapid progress in land development

Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Africa are all experiencing rapid economic development and land development. As I explained above, elephants eat large amounts of grass, so if there are no trees left in any place, it means that they will no longer be able to reproduce and survive.

Can elephants be kept?

Can elephants be kept? It’s very difficult. First of all, all elephants are endangered species and are strictly protected. It is also wise to keep in mind that it is extremely difficult for the average person to raise them as they require a large amount of food. It is best to see them at a zoo or at a local national park.


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