Difference Between African and Asian Elephants

By: | Updated: Apr-8, 2022
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Elephants are large, intelligent animals with a long history surviving on their own. Living in herds, they have developed complex social structures and behaviors.

Difference between African elephants and Asian elephants is that African elephant’s stripes are less distinct for those who are not familiar with these big mammals. The African elephant has a black and white coat. It has black stripes on the face and forehead. The size of African elephant’s ears is smaller than those of the Asian elephant, which are larger and more pointed.

African Elephants Asian Elephants
Has a ridge of hair running down the back. Has no ridge of hair on the back.
Rounded shape of head. Head is divided into two like a pair of hills.
Larger ears to dissipate heat. Smaller ears compared to African elephants.
Has a thicker neck. Has a thinner neck.
Has a longer trunk. Has a shorter trunk.
Heavier than Asian elephants. Less heavy than African elephants.

Difference Between African and Asian Elephants

Asian Elephant is smaller than its African counterpart, measuring between 3 to 4 meters in height at the shoulder and weighs up to 5 tons. The African elephant has a snout that is longer than the Asian elephant. It also has a long, pointed trunk, which is used for probing holes and scratching with it.

The Asian elephant’s tail is shorter than that of the African elephant. The Asian elephant also has a larger and more rounded head, while the African elephant’s is narrower and elongated.

Another difference between African and Asian elephants is that the African elephant has a larger brain than its Asian counterpart. The ears of the African elephant are also larger than those of the Asian elephant. The trunk of the African elephant is longer, whereas the length of the trunk of the Asian elephant is shorter.

A ridge of hair runs down the back of the African elephant while it is absent in the Asian elephant. The ears of the African elephant are also larger than those of its Asian counterpart. The neck of the African elephant is also thicker than that of its Asian counterpart, which has a thinner neck.

The heads of Asian and African elephants are different, and so they can easily be distinguished from one another even at a distance.

The head of African elephants is more rounded than the other types, and the top of their heads has a single dome shape. The heads of Asian elephants have two domes, with a deep indent in the center of their heads.

Both elephants and African elephants have ears to dissipate body heat, because they live in hotter climates and get more direct sunlight than Asian elephants. So African elephants must dissipate more heat than Asian elephants. It is important that they have larger ears.

It is worth noting that adult elephants in Africa weigh between 4,000 and 8,000 kg, and adults in Asia weigh between 3000 and 6,000 kg.

The end of the trunks of African elephants is also very different – there are two fingers that they use to pick up and manipulate objects. Asian elephants only have one ‘finger’ at the end of their trunk, and they compensate for that by holding objects on the underside of their trunk.

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