Asian Elephants – Facts and photos
Asian Elephants in Borneo are incredible! They’re so primitive, so old, and the baby elephants are so cute! We were on a river safari in Borneo when we saw a whole family of Asian Elephants!
After seeing them in the wild, I was really curious and learned some interesting Asian elephant facts. Next, I’ll share some photos from my Borneo adventure.
Surprising Elephant facts
I’ve also included some Asian Elephant facts that I found interesting are below.
- Elephants are the largest land animals living today. They’re massive!
- If you thought human pregnancy was challenging – check this out. Asian Elephant pregnancies last 22 months, baby elephants can weight 260 pounds at birth.
- At full size, male Asian Elephants can weigh up to 12,000 pounds (5400 kg)! Females weigh up to 9000 pounds.
- Elephants typically live for 60 years in the wild (80 years in captivity).
- Asian Elephants can be up to 10 feet tall at the shoulder. They’re much smaller than African Elephants in mass, but are taller.
- Elephants have up to 20 pairs of ribs and 34 caudal vertebrae (bones that make up their tails).
- Trunks are the single most important feature of an elephant, with 100,000 muscles in their trunk. It’s used for feeding, watering, smelling, breathing, and drinking. They also use it for touching, sound/communication, washing, and also for grabbing things.
- Asian elephants have a fingerlike feature on the end of their trunk that they can use to grab small items. African elephants have two.
- I noticed they don’t have the same number of nails on each foot so I looked it up. Asian Elephants have five nail-like structures on each forefoot, and four on each hind foot.
- They’re also known as Asiatic Elephants or Elephas maximus.
Super smart elephants!
Elephants have incredible memories! Like many primates, they have very large neocortexes. They’re thought to be very intelligent.
Hungry Hungry Elephants?
Elephants eat roots, grasses, fruit, and bark. An adult elephant can consume up to 300 pounds (136 kg) of food in a single day!
Since 1986, Elephas maximus (scientific name) have been listed as endangered. The population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations.
In 2003, the wild population was estimated at between 41,410 and 52,345.
Top predator for elephants: humans.
That’s right, humans are their biggest predator. They’d be doing fine if not for poaching and deforestation.
Elephants can be a “righty” or a “lefty”
- Ivory tusks are used to dig for water and rocks, to debark trees, or as levers for maneuvering fallen trees and branches. Elephant tusks are also used for marking trees, as weapon for offense and defense, and as protection for the trunk.
- Asian elephants are known to be right or left tusked. This surprised me!
We were THAT close to the elephants on the Kinabatangan River in Sabah, eastern Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It is the second longest river in Malaysia,
Where to find Asian Elephants in Borneo
I photographed these elephants on The Kinabatangan River. It’s located in Sabah, eastern Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. The Kinabatangan River is the second longest river in Malaysia.
If you’re visiting Borneo, I loved this adventure! I booked mine through Nature Lodge Kinabatangan. Note, seeing asian elephants is rare and unexpected. They typically spot crocodiles, monkeys, lots of rare birds. They occasionally see orangutans (but all the way up in the trees).
It wasn’t the first time seeing baby wildlife in my trip. I loved seeing baby orangutans and baby monkeys in Borneo. So adorable!
See my posts on other types of animals. I post about camels, tiny tarsiers, macaques, proboscis monkeys, sharks, and more!
Additional resources: Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet, Wonderful Malaysia. Thanks to Nat Geo, Wikipedia.