Asian Elephant2021-02-19T02:42:50-05:00


Elephas maximus

The Asian Elephant is the largest living land animal in Asia. The Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), also known as the Asiatic elephant, is the only living species of the genus Elephas and is distributed throughout the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, from India in the west, Nepal in the north, Sumatra in the south, and to Borneo in the east. (wiki)

Wildlife Alliance camera trap - Cardamom Mountains Dhole

Wildlife Alliance camera trap – Cardamom Mountains – Asian Elephant


There are two species of elephant: African and Asian. The ears of African elephants are much larger than their cousins and are described as being shaped like the African continent, whereas the ears of Asian elephants are shaped like the Indian subcontinent.

There’s also a trunk difference – Asian elephants have two ‘fingers’ at the tip of their trunks, whereas Asian elephants have one.

Elephants have around 150,000 muscle units in their trunk.

Their trunks are perhaps the most sensitive organ found in any mammal – Asian elephants have been seen to pick up a peanut, shell it, blow the shell out and eat the nut.

Elephants use their trunks to suck up water to drink – it can contain up to 8 liters of water. They also use their trunks as a snorkel when swimming.

Elephant tusks are actually enlarged incisor teeth that first appear when elephants are around 2 years old. Tusks continue growing throughout their lives.

Tusks are used to help with feeding – prising bark off trees or digging up roots – or as a defense when fighting.

But these beautiful tusks often cause elephants danger. They’re made from ivory; a much-desired object. Read on to find out why elephants are under threat.

An elephant’s skin is 2.5cm thick in most places.  The folds and wrinkles in their skin can retain up to 10 times more water than flat skin does, which helps to cool them down. They keep their skin clean and protect themselves from sunburn by taking regular dust and mud baths.

Elephants need up to 150kg of food per day – that’s around 375 tins of baked beans although half of this may leave the body undigested. They eat so much that they can spend up to three-quarters of their day eating.

Elephants communicate in a variety of ways – including sounds like trumpet calls (some sounds are too low for people to hear), body language, touch and scent. They can also communicate through seismic signals – sounds that create vibrations in the ground – which they may detect through their bones.

Amazingly, elephant calves are able to stand within 20 minutes of being born and can walk within 1 hour. After two days, they can keep up with the herd.

This incredible survival technique means that herds of elephants can keep migrating to find food and water to thrive.

The elephant’s temporal lobe (the area of the brain associated with memory) is larger and denser than that of people – hence the saying ”elephants never forget”.

Asian elephants are also under threat, having declined by at least 50% in the last three generations. There are only around 45,000 left in the wild. As their habitat changes, fragments and is lost to human settlements and agriculture, populations of Asian elephants are finding it harder to follow their traditional migration routes to reach water, feeding and breeding grounds, and they’re coming into often dangerous contact with people.

Camera Trap – GALLERY (Cardamom Mountains) YouTube

The Cardamom Mountain area supports more than 50 species of IUCN Threatened or Near Threatened birds, mammals, and reptiles.

Cardamom Mountains – Asian Elephant

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