African vs Asian Elephant (Video Transcript)

Here’s 5 easy ways to tell the difference between the African and Asian elephant. Some of the major differences include the continent on which they live, ear shape, head shape, size (and weight), and skin type.

Major Difference 1: Continent

  • The African elephant lives in Africa. Mainly in Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa.
  • On the other hand, the Asian elephant lives in Asia. Habitat consists of countries like India, China (extreme south of the Yunnan province), Thailand and Indonesia.

Major Difference 2: Ear Shape

  • The African elephant’s ear is larger and rounder. Its shape is similar to the map of Africa.
  • The Asian elephant’s ear is smaller and more angular than its African cousin. Asian elephants have an ear shape that looks like the map of India.

Major Difference 3: Head Shape (and Lower Lip)

  • The African elephant has a flat front (single dome).
  • The Asian elephant has two hemispherical bulges on the head (twin-domed head). Its lower lip is also long and tapered.

Major Difference 4: Size (and Weight)

  • The African elephant is relatively heavier than its Asiatic cousin. Males can weigh up to 7000 kg, and stand at 3.6 m (12 ft) tall. Females are smaller: 3600-4600 kg (3 m in height; 9.8 ft).
  • For Asian elephants, the maximum weight is approximately 6000 kg.
  • Most Asian male elephants rarely exceed 2.7 m (9 ft) at shoulder height. Females have an average shoulder height of +/- 2.4 m (8 ft).

Major Difference 5: Skin Type (and Colour)

  • African elephants are usually darker and more wrinkled.
  • Asian elephants have a smoother and lighter colour skin type.

* Elephant Joke

Just for fun!

An animated jeweller called the police station to report a robbery.

“You’ll never believe what happened, Sergeant. A truck backed up to my store, the doors opened. Out comes these burglars and they lead an elephant out of the truck. The elephant then breaks through my plate glass window, sticks his trunk in, sucks up all the jewelry. Then they lead the elephant back into the truck. The robbers close the truck doors and the truck pulled away.”

The desk sergeant said, “Could you tell me, for identification purposes, whether it was an Indian elephant or an African elephant?”

“What’s the difference?” asked the jeweller.

“Well,” said the sergeant, “an African elephant has large ears and an Asian elephant has little ears. So which kind of elephant was used in the burglary?”

“How should I know? I couldn’t see his ears,” said the jeweller. “He had a stocking over his head.”