Distinguishing Asian and African Elephants

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Sophia Yin, DVM April 12, 2009

1966-2014 R.I.P.

There are two different types of elephants, Asian and African. Up until my visit to Have Trunk Will Travel, I could never tell the difference. But Kari Johnson gave me a fool-proof method. Now I can’t believe I couldn’t distinguish between the two in the past.

Asian elephants have a humped back whereas African elephants have a sway back. You probably also notice from the photos that Asian elephants have shorter trunks, wider legs, and their leg does not taper much above the foot. Asian elephants have a bilobed forehead whereas Africans have domed head.

 

Asian elephants have a hump back and small ears

African elephants have a sway back and huge ears.

African elephants have a sway back and huge ears.

African elephant

African elephant

Asian elephants (bilobed head)

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