African elephants room the biggest of all land animals, adult males weighing in between 1,800 and 6,300 kg (2 and also 7 tons/ 4,000 and also 14,000 lb.). Females are smaller, weighing in between 2,700 and also 3,600 kg (3 and 4 tons/ 6,000 and 8,000 lb.). Shoulder elevation ranges between three and also four m (9.8 and also 13.1 ft.).

Adult male eastern elephants weigh between 1,800 and 4,500 kg (2 and 5 tons/ 4,000 and also 10,000 lb.), through females weighing slightly less. Shoulder elevation ranges between 2 and 3.5 m (6.6 and also 11.5 ft.).

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The elephant"s trunk is an expansion of the top lip and also nose. It attributes for grasping, breathing, feeding, dusting, smelling, drinking, lifting, sound production/communication, defense/protection, and sensing.

The trunk consists of an estimated 100,000 muscles and tendons in the trunk, offering it too much flexibility and strength. Elephant trunks are qualified of expanding, contracting, and also moving in a diverse variety of directions.

Asian elephants have one finger-like projection at the reminder of the trunk and also African elephants have actually two. This finger-like projections have numerous sensitive nerve endings and are qualified of fine engine skills, such together grasping small and vulnerable objects.

An adult eastern elephant have the right to hold as much as 8.5 together (2.2 gal.) of water in that is trunk. Water is sprayed into the mouth for drinking and onto the earlier to keep cool.

Elephants" trunks and keen feeling of smell are offered to inspection the environment. The trunk is raised and waived in the air to gather odor particles. With the trunk, the scent particles space then lugged to a devoted gland dubbed the Jacobson"s organ, located in the roof the the mouth. The Jacobson"s organ is may be to conference information around the elephant"s surroundings by detecting and evaluating molecules and also particles native the air. Through this process, elephants are capable of locating water sources up come 19.2 km (12 mi.) away and also can also determine the reproductive status of remote elephants.

Elephants can reach vegetation as high together 5.7 m (19 ft.) through rearing increase onto their hind legs and extending their trunk.

Small sensory hairs expand the size of the elephant"s trunk enhance its sensitivity. These small hairs facilitate tactile interaction during courtship and also when caring for young.

Elephant trunks are really powerful-capable of uprooting whole tree trunk, tearing down hefty branches, and delivering a forceful blow in self-defense.


Elephant ear are about one-sixth the dimension of its entire body and primarily role as a cooling mechanism. The ear contain considerable networks of tiny blood vessels, which room visible at the external margins, wherein the skin is only about one to 2 mm (0.04 - 0.08 in.) thick. The warm blood cools together it circulates through the ship in the ear, as result of the thin layer of skin that separates that from the external air. The cooler blood then circulates earlier into the body, helping reduce the all at once body temperature of the elephant.

The dimension of elephant ears is proportionate to its geographic distribution. The closer come the equator the elephant resides, the larger the ears, allowing much more heat to dissipate (remove) native the body, and therefore has larger ears. Afri elephants live closest to the equator and have the largest ears, adhered to by the eastern elephants. The now extinct woolly mammoth, lived close to the phibìc Pole, and also had the smallest ears.

Elephants use their ear to funnel in sound tide from the environment, contributing to their keen sense of hearing.


Both African and Asian elephants have actually a full of 26 teeth consisting of two top incisors (tusks), 12 premolars (non-permanent teeth similar to infant teeth), and 12 molars. Oriental elephants have smaller tusks than those of african elephants and also females have actually smaller tusks 보다 males.

Each adult masculine tusk weighs in between 50 and also 79 kg (110 - 175 lb.) and also an adult female"s tusk weighs in between 18 and 20 kg (40 - 44 lb.). One of the heaviest tusks ever weighed was an ext than 100 kg (220 lb.).

African elephants have diamond-shaped ridges on their molars, whereas eastern elephants have actually long cylindrical ridges top top theirs. The ridges help elephants grind food vegetation.

Most mammals change cheek this (premolars and also molars) in a vertical manner. The new tooth develops and replaces the old one, from over in the upper jaw and from listed below in the reduced jaw. In elephants, the instead of of the cheek teeth is a horizontal process. Brand-new teeth build at the earlier of the mouth and also progress forward until worn the end at the front.

Each molar tooth is about the dimension of a brick and also weighs between 1.8 and 2.0 kg (4-4.5 lb.). Elephant molar this are changed six times throughout its lifetime.

Elephants space born with temporary incisors (tusks) that are changed with permanent ones between six and also 13 month of age. Irreversible tusks thrive continuously at a rate of about 17 cm (6.7 in.) per year, getting to lengths of approximately 3.5 m (7.7 ft.) because that adult African masculine elephants.

The upper one-third of one elephant"s tusk, wherein it is installed in the bone that the top jaw, is mainly hollow and carries a solitary nerve. The top third embedded section of the tusk functions as an anchor as soon as digging and uprooting vegetation and aids defense.

Elephant ivory is identified from other animal dentition by its unique cross section patterning. One elephant tusk cross section mirrors diamond-shaped striations, called "engine turning" and also is distinct to elephants.

Similar come humans, elephants might be "left or right-handed," meaning there is a choice to use one tusk end the other. As a result, one tusk might be an ext worn than the other.

Musth Gland/Temporal Gland

Asian and also African elephants have actually a musth gland located simply beneath the skin"s surface, halfway in between the eye and ear on each side of your head.

The musth gland might be connected with sexual activity and/or communication.

Annually, musth glands secrete a dark, oily, musky substance and become inflamed. This physiological adjust is associated with a actions observed in male elephants referred to as musth.

Refer to musth in the actions section.


The skeleton of one elephant"s foot is angled, v a big pad the fat and also connective tissue at the heel. The angled foot structure means that elephants go on your tiptoes through their body weight evenly distributed throughout the fatty/connective tissue at the heel. Ex: one adult male eastern elephant the is 2.88 m (9.5 ft.) in height and also weighs around 4,167 kg (9,259 lb.) distributes just 3.8 kg (8.5 lb.) of load per square customs on that heels.

The elephant"s distinct foot structure allows secure motion over uneven terrain and also swampy ground.


Elephant skin is wrinkled in appearance, through African elephants much more wrinkled than asian elephants. Wrinkles act as a cooling mechanism by raising the skin"s surface ar area. The added skin and also wrinkles trap moisture, which climate takes much longer to evaporate. Therefore, wrinkles store elephants cooler, for longer, than if they had smooth skin.

Asian elephants are less wrinkled in appearance than African elephants due to the fact that they mainly inhabit forested habitats. Temperatures space not as hot in forested areas, thereby reducing the require for forest-dwelling elephants come cool themselves.

Elephant skin can be approximately 3.8 centimeter (1.5 in.) special in details places. However, the skin is perceptible to touch, detecting insects and changes in the environment.

The mix of special skin and a slim layer that fat beneath the skin enable the elephant to tolerate cold temperatures.

Overall skin coloration because that elephants is grey. However, eastern elephants have actually a freckled appearance due to unique patches of depigmentation, especially on the trunk.


Elephants have sparse hair distributed unevenly on your body, v the most noticeable concentrations approximately the eyes, ear openings, chin, and also tail.

Young elephants space hairier 보다 adults and also their hair is reddish-brown in color. Together they mature, the amount of hair is reduced and also becomes darker.

Internal Organs


Elephants have actually the largest brain of any type of land mammal, weighing between 4.5 to 5.5 kg (10-12 lb.).

Elephants have highly developed cerebrums and cerebellums- sections of the brain involved in movement and also muscle coordination.

Elephants have big temporal lobes-portions the the brain which facilitate memory.

Elephants have excellent long-term memory and are qualified of remembering experience for long periods of time. Research has shown that elephants are able come recognize various other herd members years after they have actually last interacted with them.


The typical weight for an elephant heart is around 12 come 21 kg (26.5-46.3 lb.) and comprises about 0.5% of the animal"s complete body weight.

Elephants have an atypical shame heart. Most mammals, including humans, have a single-pointed apex in ~ the base (heart-shaped). Elephants have a double-pointed apex at the base, lessening the heart-shaped appearance, and also giving that a more circular shape.

Stomach and also Intestines

Elephants have actually a cylindrical-shaped stomach. The stomach primarily functions in food storage. Cradle takes location in the cecum (pouch linked to the huge intestine). The merged length the the small and big intestines is around 35 m (100 ft.) in length.


Most mammals breathe air by expanding their chest, v muscular action. When the chest is expanded, a membrane (visceral pleura) attached come the lungs stays still while one more membrane (parietal pleura) attached to the chest wall expands outward. The fluid-filled space between the 2 membranes is called the pleural cavity which widens throughout chest expansion. The widened pleural cavity helps develop a vacuum-like effect, enabling air to be pulled into the lungs.

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This process differs in elephants because they perform not have a pleural cavity. Your lungs are straight attached to the chest wall and as such rely on straight muscular action to expand the lungs. This straight muscular control permits underwater breathing with the trunk provided as a snorkel.