The difference between African and Asian elephants

While African (Loxodonta Africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants may seem rather alike, upon closer inspection it becomes evident that these two species are, in fact, vastly different. Both animals are revered in their respective countries, but for different reasons ‚Äď while the African elephant is seen predominantly as a tourism magnet, the Asian elephant is revered and forms an important part of numerous sacred ceremonies, particularly in the Buddhist and Hindu religions.

If you are seeking African elephants in the wild, then the best place to stay is Addo accommodation, in the heart of the park. Established as a sanctuary to promote the conservation and protection of severely depleted wildlife reserves in the area, the park now boasts in excess of 550 elephants, along with a host of other animals and birds.

Here are some of the fundamental ways that African and Asian elephants differ:

  • Size: the African elephant can reach 3 to 4 metres in height, while the Asian elephant will grow between 2, 5 and 3 metres tall. The African elephant weighs up to 7000 kg, while the Asian elephant is slightly lighter, weighing in at 3000 to 6000 kg.
  • Ears: the African elephant has large ears that extend over its neck, while the Asian elephant’s ears are smaller and do not reach over its neck.
  • Wrinkles: the Asian elephant boasts smoother, hairier skin than its African counterpart.
  • Belly shape: The African elephant’s stomach slopes diagonally downward towards its hind legs, while the Asian elephant’s stomach tends to be straight or sags in the middle.
  • Back shape: The Asian elephant’s back is either straight or slightly convex, while the African elephant’s back has a concave shape.
  • Head shape: While the Asian elephant’s head can be identified via its humped structures and dented forehead, the African elephant has no such defining features.
  • Tusks: Asian elephant males have tusks, while females will either have rudimentary stumps or no tusks at all. Both male and female African elephants have tusks, although the male’s ones are slightly larger.
  • Food: the Asian elephant’s diet primarily consists of grass, while the African elephant favours leaves.
  • Temperament: Although both African and Asian elephants can be trained, the Asian elephants seem gentler towards humans and are more predictable.

If you want an up-close encounter with the remarkable African elephant, then opt to stay in Addo Elephant Park accommodation and revel in the beauty of the park all whilst elephants roam, on a game drive.