Tag Archives: Wildlife

The best wildlife posts and wildlife photography will be included in this section.

Asian Elephants in the wild

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).
  • Asian Elephants have 100,000 muscles in their trunk!
    Asian Elephants have 100,000 muscles in their trunk!
  • 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.
we saw a few baby Asian Elephants in Borneo too - at Sungai Kinabatgangan in Malaysian Borneo
I didn’t realize it was a baby elephant until the adult elephants came up behind

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.

Did you know: elephants are known to be right or left tusked.
Elephant trivia! Did you know that elephants are known to be right or left tusked.

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!
Look at the size of this elephant's ears compared with its head in this close-up. Photo from Malaysian Borneo in Sabah
Look at the size of this elephant’s ears compared with its head
Adorable Baby Asian Elephants in the wild in Sabah Malaysia/Borneo! Visit50.com
I never thought I’d find Baby Elephants to be adorable but look at it!

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,

Adorable Baby elephant portrait! Photo taken at along the Kinabatangan River (Sungai Kinabatangan) in Sabah, eastern Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It is the second longest river in Malaysia, in Sabah, eastern Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It is the second longest river in Malaysia
Baby Elephant close-up – loved having my D-SLR lens to zoom in to snap this photo

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, macaquesproboscis monkeys, sharks, and more!

Additional resources: Trip AdvisorLonely Planet, Wonderful Malaysia. Thanks to Nat Geo, Wikipedia.

Monkeys in Asia: Meet the Macaques

Monkeys in Asia

The most common type of monkeys in Asia is called a macaque. Long-tailed macaques are not shy at all. Sometimes these monkeys are also aggressive. Be careful!

Macaque monkey portrait

They’re not shy, and often allow you to get close. This makes for some wonderful closeup photos like this one (below) from Bako National Park.

group of macaque monkeys in Asia in Bali

Macaque Monkeys in Asia in Bako in Borneo
Some fellow travel photographers that read Visit50 suggested this pic as a cover photo for the next Lonely Planet

Another travel photographer said this wildlife shot of a long-tailed macaque (the monkey in the above photo) should be the next cover of Lonely Planet Borneo. Perhaps! I’m really flattered by the compliment! I need to thank the photogenic monkeys that were so kind to pose for me.

Getting this photo:

Shots like this are challenging, because this monkey doesn’t typically pose for you. Macro shots aren’t compatible with motion. Thus, you can’t predict eye contact from wildlife. You need to be in the right focus to have the monkey crisp with the background blurred. This helps the photo really pop! In contrast, I love the composition of the lower photo, but it requires zoom. This makes the depth of field much more flat.

Macaque monkey in Asia - this is in Malaysian Borneo on Bako Island

Pronunciation for the most common monkeys in Asia

Yes, the correct pronunciation for this monkey is actually Muh-kok. [Giggle giggle]

Macaque monkey eating lunch in Bali

Macaque Monkeys in Asia at Ulu Watu Visit50 - 3

Macaque monkeys in Asia on my trip

The monkey I saw most often on my trip through Asia was the macaque. When I first saw long-tailed macaques on the cliffs of Ulu Watu, in Bali Indonesia, I thought it was a rare opportunity. Then I saw plenty more throughout my trip. I soon learned they’re all over Asia!

met with monkeys in Asia

I’ve seen lots of wildlife in my trip – the baby orangutans, baby elephants, and baby monkeys (macaques) in Borneo were adorable!  I also saw other types of animals up close – camelstarsiersproboscis monkeyssharks, and more!

Wildlife section of my travel blog.

Click below for the Lonely Planet Borneo guide – I used a LP guide throughout my backpacking trip. And here’s more info on macaques.