21. February 2013
What is the difference between an African and an Asian elephant?
With this post we will try to answer this question by giving some information about the largest terrestrial mammal in Asia.
The Asian elephant is smaller than the African elephant and has a concave back. The Asian elephant has smaller and rounded ears, the ears of the African elephant are large and triangular; because of the smaller ears it is hard for an Asian elephant to cool itself so it tries to avoid open grasslands before the cool of the evening. The African elephant does not have this problem as it can cool itself easily with its ears. If you have the possibility to see the trunk very close you can see another difference: The Asian elephant has just one protuberance while the African elephant has two.
The biggest differences between these two types of elephants are the tusks. Both sexes of African elephants grow tusks, but only 7-8 & of the male Asian elephants do.
The tusks are used for digging, marking and maneuvering trees, as weapon for offense and defense and as protection for the trunk. The tusks never stop growing and elephants can be right or left tusked, which means that they use one tusk more often than the other one, just like humans. The dominant tusk is called master tusk. You can easily see which one the master tusk is at is usually more worn down and shorter.
In this month we were nearly offended by a tusked elephant. It was already in the position and presented us the full length of its tusks as one third of them is usually hidden inside the mouth.