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The Asian elephant is slightly smaller in size and has smaller ears than the African elephant. Long - living and intelligent, it has been domesticated by human for the last 5,500 years.
Habits: A social animal, the Asian elephant protects other group members. Adults surround the young when danger threatens the herd. Females in the group adopt orphaned calves, and members stay to assist shot or wounded elephants often putting themselves at risk.
Food & Feeding: The Asian elephant prefers to browse rather than graze. It uses its adaptable trunk to pick green leaves, fruit, and new plant shoots. The elephants tears off the soft bark of young tress and puts it into its mouth with the trunk. The Asian elephant needs over 300 pounds of food a day. If its trunk is damaged, the elephant will starve. The elephant also needs large amounts of water, which it sucks up with its trunk and squirts into its mouth. The Asian elephant's great size makes it easy to travel long distances to find food and water within its large home range. Generations of elephants often follow the same paths between feeding areas, making wide "elephant roads" through even dense jungle areas.
Behavior: The elephant grows throughout its life, so the largest elephant in a group is also the oldest. Despite its size the elephant can move quietly, and firm ground barely shows it tracts. When a member gets separated from he group in wooded and jungle areas it emits a grumbling purr to keep in contact. The sexes live apart most of the time. The female stays with he family unit of sisters and mothers and daughters with their offspring. Once mature, the female calf remains with the group while the young male joins a bachelor herd. When , mature, a bull lives alone or in small, temporary groups.
Breeding: During the rutting (mating) season the Asian bull (male) elephant produces high levels of the hormone "musk" and acts more aggressive. Rutting occurs late in the rainy season, which is also when the females go into heat. The arrival of calves 22 month's later coincides with the new rainy season and plentiful food supply. During birth, a second elephant cow will protect the mother from lions, tigers, and hyenas that prey on calves. At birth the Asian elephant weights over 200 pounds , if grows rapidly the first few years. At 15 years growth slows, but it continues though out the elephants life.
Between 20 to 30 years the bull elephants have another growth spurt. The female Asian elephant can live beyond childbearing age, which is unusually among animals. But today fewer elephants are living long lives. Only 50% of wild Asians elephants survive past 15 years, and only 20% reach 30. A hunters kill younger and younger elephants, the animals chance for long life dwindles.
Key Facts: Sizes, Weight, breeding, lifestyle,
Lifestyle: Habit: Cow and young form a
family unit. Bull is mainly solitary.
Special features about the African Elephant:
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