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Location and Habitat

Asian elephants are located in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and other countries in Southeast Asia. Asian elephants' habitats are generally located in or near forests but they may be found in other types of habitats as well.


Diet

Asian elephants are herbivores, which means their diet consists only of plants. These elephants will feed on a variety of plants, including fruit, grasses, tree bark, vegetables and palm leaves.


Size and Description

Asian elephants range from 7 - 10 feet in height. They can weigh up to 10,000 - 11,000 pounds. This puts them among the heaviest land animals on earth, second only to their close relatives, African elephants.


Asian elephants are "muddy" grey in color, and have very thick, wrinkled skin. They have patches of brown hair on the tops of their heads and backs. Elephants have long, muscular trunks that are used to grab food lying on or growing from the ground. The trunks can also be used for grabbing objects such as branches, or for drinking and spraying water. On either side of the trunk are the eyes of the elephant. Asian elephants' ears are much smaller than the ears of African elephants, which is one of the easiest ways to tell the two species apart. Some male Asian elephants have visible tusks, while most females do not.


Asian elephants have relatively short legs when compared to the rest of their bodies, and their knees are wrinkled. On the front feet are 5 toenails, and on the hind feet are 4.


Behaviors

Asian elephants are able to cool themselves by utilizing their trunk to splash themselves with mud, dust or water. They also will flap their ears to release excess heat.


Asian elephants are also social animals and often stay in herds. This helps in protection of the elephants, especially newborns. Males will leave the herd after they have matured to a certain point.


Reproduction

The pregnancy or gestation period of female Asian elephants is about 21 months. They will most often give birth to only one calf.


Other Facts

Asian elephants are endangered due to several reasons. The habitats in which they live are being destroyed by people who then create villages or farms in those areas. Also, the ivory tusks of elephants are valuable to poachers.

In 1989, a global ban on ivory headed by The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species was signed and helped curb much of the poaching of the elephants.

Asian elephants have been utilized for hundreds or even thousands of years to assist people in moving large or heavy objects, such as trees.


 
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    Kingdom: Phylum: Class: Order: Family: Genus: Species: Animalia Chordata Mammalia Proboscidea Elephantidae Elephas maximus
           
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