Difference Between Asian and African Elephants

Asian and African elephants are one of the well-known land animals. That being said, it is not surprising that the two are often confused with each other.

Although the Asian and African elephants belong to the same species, they have different physical characteristics that make them remarkably different from one another.

This article will go into detail on the physical characteristics that mark the difference between Asian and African elephants within the context of the Civil Services Examination.


Difference between Asian and African Elephants

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The differences between an Asian Elephant and an African Elephant are given in the table below:

Difference Between Asian Elephants and African Elephants

Asian Elephant African Elephant
Asian elephants have a twin-domed head with an indent running up the center of their head. African elephants have fuller, more rounded heads, and the top of their head is a single dome shape.
Asian Elephant ears are much smaller, almost semi-circular in shape The ears of African elephants are much larger, almost shaped like the African continent
The Asian Elephant is comparatively smaller than its African counterpart. Adults reach 3.5 metres Of the two elephant species, the African elephant is of the larger one. Adults reach a height of 4 metres.
Asian Elephants weigh between 3000 and 6000 kg African Elephants weigh between 4000 and 8000 kg
Only Asian Elephants males have tusk while females have rudimentary tuskes called tushes Both the male and female of the African elephants have tusks.
Asian elephants have long, tapered lower lips African elephants’ lower lips are short and round
Asian elephants have smoother skin compared to its African counterpart African elephants skins is far more wrinkled and rough
Asian elephants’ teeth have a compressed diamond-shaped tooth profile African elephant teeth are ‘loxodont’ (or sloping), a term which gives them their scientific name Africana Loxodonta
Asian Elephants are found in Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand African elephants range across the rainforests of West and Central Africa, and through the savannas and deserts of Africa.
Asian elephants can live up to 48 years African elephants can live up to 70 years

Difference between Asian and African Elephants – Download PDF Here

Questions on Asian and African Elephants can be asked in the environment and ecology segment of the UPSC Prelims Exam. Candidates can refer to the following link to learn more from the segment:

Frequently Asked Questions about Asian and African Elephants

What are the different physical characteristics of Asian and African Elephants?

African elephants have square heads, large ears, and a sway (dipped) back. Asian elephants have rounded heads, smaller ears, and a humped back.

Which is larger the African elephant or the Asian elephant?

African elephants are the largest land animals on Earth. They are slightly larger than their Asian cousins and can be identified by their larger ears that look somewhat like the continent of Africa. (Asian elephants have smaller, rounded ears.)

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