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Asian elephant

OLogy Series
animal
card
115

Asian elephant

OLogy Series
animal

The Asian elephant is one of the largest land mammals in the world. Some people believe that elephants feel joy and sadness. These wrinkly mammals live in groups headed by the oldest and largest female in the herd, called the matriarch. Asian elephants are the closest relatives to the extinct woolly mammoth, which lived thousands of years ago.

Female elephants have tushes. This means that they have really big:

tails

behinds

teeth

Are you right?

Correct!

Tush is another word for tusk. Tushes are really big teeth called second incisors that stick out just above the upper lip. Female elephants have very smaller tushes than males.

Female herd members that help mother elephants care for their young are called:

babysitters

aunties

mommy helpers

Are you right?

Correct!

Elephant herds work together just like human families. When a baby elephant gets into trouble, other herd members pitch in and help.

Asian and African elephants look identical.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

African elephant have ears shaped like the continent of Africa. Asian elephants have ears that are shaped like India.

Elephant poop provides food and a warm place for creatures to live.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

If the idea of living in a house made out of poop sounds good to you, move in with a termite. Some termites eat elephant poop and even live under piles of it.

Asian elephant
Scientific name: Elephas maximus
Size: 6,000 to 11,000 pounds (8 to 10 feet tall)
Habitat: grasslands in Southeast Asia, India, Sri Lanka, and Sumatra
Diet: grasses, leaves, and fruits
Characteristics: large head, and smaller ears than the African elephant
Significance: endangered due to habitat loss and poaching for ivory tusks

Image credits: courtesy of Jason Lelchuk, AMNH.