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Home >> Wild Animals in India >> Indian Elephant

Indian Elephant

Also known as the Asian elephant, the Indian Elephant is a gentle giant. Often tamed for use as a load-bearing animal, elephants are prized for their immense strength, their sedate nature when tamed and are worshipped in India as an incarnation of the elephant headed god Ganesha. Tame elephants are often kept in temples in India and bear the images of the gods in temple processions on festive days. Elephants have been used historically in India as the mounts of rulers, and as a part of warfare.

Zoological name

Elephas maximus

Range

The Indian Elephant is found across India in protected forests and in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Estimated population

It is estimated that there are over 28,000 Indian Elephants in India, including zoos and animal parks.

Physical characteristics

Elephants are the largest of all mammals on land. The Indian elephant is smaller than the African elephant, however it can grow up to 11 feet tall and weigh up to 5 tons. The elephant's brain is the heaviest of all land mammals and can weigh up to 5 Kg. Elephants have large ears, are covered with gray hairy skin, and are characterized by their long trunks which can be used in a number of ways including for breathing, to suck in water or food, to lift and pull objects, and to make trumpeting noises and other sounds for communication. All male Indian elephants do not have tusks. Elephants that do have large tusks are hunted by poachers who seek the tusks for their ivory. The tusks, which are elongated incisor teeth, are used for digging, pushing and fighting with other male elephants. The molar teeth which elephants use for chewing are located within their mouths and are replaced as they get worn out, until about age 40.

Habitat

The Indian Elephant is found in the wild in densely forested areas of India including the tropical forests of South India, North East India and the sub Himalayan region. Also known as the Asian Elephant it is found in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos and China.

Diet

Elephants are herbivorous creatures and spend a large amount of time everyday eating up to 300 Kg of vegetation, including grass, leaves, fruit and the bark of trees. The length of an elephant's digestive system is around 100 feet. Elephants that are tamed are fed on leaves, sugarcane, bananas and rice gruel.

Behavior

Elephants have a complex social structure. In the wild they live in family groups led by mature female elephants, their young and sometimes older bull elephants. Mature male elephants are often solitary or live in small groups of male elephants only. Elephants live up to 70 years old and can sleep while standing. Tame elephants are made to sit or lie down while its trainer or mahout attends to it, in the wild however an elephant will not lie down unless it is sick.

Elephants enjoy wallowing in water, which helps clean their skin, which does not have any sweat glands. Adult male elephants around the age of 20 undergo a phase of heightened sexual urge known as "musth." Male elephants become aggressive and violent for a phase lasting up to 60 days. This phase recurs periodically through an adult male elephant's life. Female elephants can bear young around the age of 16. Usually one, but sometimes two, offspring are born at a time. Elephants give birth to about 4 young ones over a span of 60 years. Elephants communicate through a variety of noises, including infrasonic sounds, which are inaudible to human beings.

Status
Indian Elephants are threatened by poaching for their tusks, by the loss of habitat due to human pressure on forested areas and due to human conflict. The isolated populations of wild elephants in individual wildlife sanctuaries are also threatened by loss of genetic diversity. Recently a number of corridors connecting wildlife sanctuaries have been established to encourage the migration of wild elephants.

Tourists can see the Indian Elephant in most of the national parks in India while traveling on India wildlife tours: Periyar National Park in Kerala in South India and Corbett National Park in Uttaranchal in North India, are some of the best sanctuaries where Indian elephants can be observed in their natural habitat.


Wild Animals in India

Royal Bengal Tiger - Great Indian Rhinoceros - Indian Elephant - Leopard - Asiatic Lion - Barasingha - Gaur (Indian Bison) - Ganges River Dolphin


South India Tours
Wildlife in Kerala


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Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary - Corbett National Park & Sanctuary - Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary - Gir National Park & Sanctuary - Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary - Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary - Thattekad Bird Sanctuary - Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary - Kolleru Bird Sanctuary - Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary - Karnala Bird Sanctuary - Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary - The Palamau Tiger Reserve

 

India Birding Tour Packages

Rajasthan Wildlife & Birding Tour - Desert & Birding Tour - Golden Triangle Birds Tour
Special Birding Tour with Ornithologist - North-East India Birding Tour
Birding Tour India - Bird Watcher's Heaven

Tiger Tours India

Tigerland Safari - Footprints of Tiger - Essence of India with Tiger Tour
Best of India with Tigers Tour - Tiger Special Tours - Grand Tour of Tigerland
Central India Tours with Tigers

Wildlife Safaris in India
Wildlife Safaris in India

Lion Safari - Jeep Safari
Elephant Safari - Camel Safari


Bengal Tiger


Bengal Tiger

The natural heritage in India is as rich and diverse as the cultural heritage. The wildlife sanctuaries and the national parks here give you an essence of the same. Nestled in this rich land is the Royal Bengal Tiger, the only home to the Royal Tiger Cat.

 
Wild Animals in IndiaWild Animals in India


Wild Animals in India

Royal Bengal Tiger - Great Indian Rhinoceros - Indian Elephant - Leopard - Asiatic Lion - Barasingha - Gaur (Indian Bison) - Ganges River Dolphin

 
Glimpses of India Glimpses of India


Glimpses of India

Indian Forests - Eastern Habitats - Himalayan Wilderness - Southern India Jungles - Wild West India - Wildlife Trails
Wildlife Tours in India - Wildlife National Parks India - Wildlife Sanctuaries in India - Wildlife Safaris in India - Bengal Tiger - Wild Animals in India
India Birding Tour Packages - Tiger Tours India - Glimpses of India

 
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