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How do African and Asian elephants differ?

Asian elephant
Elephas maximus

African elephant
Loxodonta Africana


Weight of males

Smaller - 3 000 - 5 000 kg

Larger - weighs between 4 000 - 6 300 kg

Height at shoulder

Shorter - 2 - 3.5m

Taller - 3 - 4m

Highest point

Top of head

Top of shoulder

Shape of back

Convex (bends up) or level.

Concave (bends down).

Shape of head

Compressed, dorsal bulges, dished forehead. Two bumps

No compression, no bulges, no dish. One bump


Small (do not exceed the height of the neck)

Large (exceeding height of neck)



Very wrinkled


Narrow compressed loops on chewing surface

Lozenge-shaped loops on chewing surface


Only in males.

In both sexes, longer in males.


Less rings, more rigid.
Tip of trunk has one ‘finger'.

Has more rings, less rigid.
Tip of trunk has two ‘fingers'.
Distinct ring patterns.


Front foot: 5
Hind foot: 4 or 5

Front foot: 4 or 5
Hind foot, 3, 4 or 5


Up to 20 pairs

Up to 21 pairs


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Emergency Hotline

Report rule breakers and other incidents to KNP's Emergency Call Centre on 013 735 4325

Did You Know?

  • On 31 May 1926 the National Parks Act was proclaimed and with it the merging of the Sabie and Shingwedzi Game Reserves into the Kruger National Park. The first motorists entered the park in 1927 for a fee of one pound.