How Many Types of Elephants Are There Today In The World? - Does A White Elephant Exist?

Updated: 12 Feb 2021



Most people have a question, how many types of elephants are there?

There are two main types of elephants in the world, Asian and African. Elephants are the most extensive and heaviest mammals on earth. These giant animals belong to the Elephantidae family. 

In the article, we will explore all the different kinds of elephants. Next, you will know in detail: how many species of elephants are there?

How Many Types Of Elephants Are There?

Today, there are two major types of elephants, African elephants, and Asian elephants. In addition, African elephants consist of 2 subspecies: the African bush elephant and the African forest elephant.

The Asian Elephant consists of three kinds of elephants Sri Lankan Elephant, Indian Elephant, and Sumatran Elephant. All types of elephants have unique value, and we can not give more importance to one species than the other.

How Many Types Of African Elephants Are There?

African elephants belong to the Loxodonta family and are the most enormous and heavy animals globally. They are vast and brilliant. The subspecies of African elephants are described below. 

(1). African Bush Elephant:

The African bush elephant's scientific name is (Loxodonta africana). According to an estimation, they were 300,000 in 2018. This type of elephant is the heaviest and the largest mammal. Vast ears are their distinctive feature; they use their ears to radiate excess heat.

They also have longer trunks and tusks than other different species of elephants. Males can reach a height of 3.20 meters and about 6000 kilograms in weight. They are the most extensive types of elephants.

The females are usually 2.40 meters long and about 2700 kilograms in weight. The African bush elephant mostly lives in partial desert areas, primary woodland, and grassland. In African countries like South Africa, Gabon, and Malawi, you can see them.

(2). African Forest Elephant

The African forest elephant's scientific name is (Loxodonta cyclotis). According to a survey, they were 200,000 in number in 2018. They are smaller in size and darker in color than African bush elephants. Their ears are round and small in size. They have straight, sharp, and healthy tusks.

Their jawbones are also narrower than other elephants. In addition, this giant animal has five nails on its forefoot, while the hindfoot has four nails. As a result, their reproduction and recovery rate is slower than other types of elephants.

Forest elephants live around tropical forests. You can enjoy seeing them in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Western and Central Africa.

How Many Types Of Asian Elephants Are There?

There are four types of Asian elephants. They are more famous than African elephants. Brownish to reddish bodies with hairs are the signs of young elephants.

Their skin consists of a grey color but is slightly dim around the ears, near the forehead, and trunk; they are smaller than their African cousins. They have more nails on their feet than the elephants of Africa. Many Asian big mammals have no tusks.

Their favorite residential areas comprise grasses and low woody plants. You can also see them in rainforests. The Asian elephant mostly lives in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka in South and Southeast Asia. Now we will describe the subspecies of Asian elephants one by one.

(1). Sri Lankan Elephants

The Sri Lankan Elephant's scientific name is (Elephas Maximus Maximus). According to a report, 5879 Srilankan elephants are alive in the wild. They are smaller than the African Elephants, but it is the largest Asian subspecies. They can reach a height of 2 to 3.5 m (6.6 to 11.5 ft) and weigh between 2000 and 5500 kg.

They have darker skin and higher de-pigmentation areas on the body. Sri Lankan elephants mostly live in a dry region of the north-central and south-eastern areas of Srilanka. Sri Lankan elephants live in forested areas, open grasslands, and lakeshores.

(2). Indian Elephants

The Indian elephant's scientific name is (Elephas Maximus Indicus). There are 30,000 Indian elephants alive today. Indian elephants can weigh up to 5,000 kg. They have a height of 3.5 m (6.6 ft). The Indian elephants have big heads, but their neck is small. In addition, they have short but strong legs that bear their entire body weight.

These elephants have long tails. Most Indian female elephants are tuskless. Indian elephants mostly live in tropical Forests. But frequently, they change their places. You can see them in mixed forests like evergreen and scrub forests; they are herbivores and graze different kinds of plants all day.

(3). Sumatran Elephants:

Sumatran elephants scientific name is (Elephas Maximus Sumatrensis). There are around 2400 to 2900 Sumatran elephants alive in the wild. Sumatran elephant weights 2000 to 4500 kg. They can reach a height of up to 3.2 meters (6.6 ft). Skin color is lighter than other types of elephants. Like other elephants, Sumatran elephants are also social animals. Therefore, they need a large area of land for shelter and grazing.

Sumatran elephant is a popular type of Asain elephant. They mostly live in Indonesia and the island of Sumatra. They are the giant land animal in Indonesia. You can see them in high altitudes forests. Sometimes, they live in low island forests.

(4). Borneo Elephants:

Borneo elephants are found mainly in Malaysia and Indonesia, in the northern and northeastern regions of the island of Borneo. These elephants are thought to have been created from captive elephants imported by the Sultan of Selu in Borneo. The Borneo elephant has yet to be identified, and more genetic and morphometric research may be able to provide enough evidence to designate it as Elifus Maximus Bornean.

Last Words

Elephants are vast and beautiful creatures on the planet. You can see white elephants in Burma, Thailand, and other Asian countries. People of these countries highly respect these animals. There are eight white elephants in captivity in Burma and five in the zoo.

The Red List of the World Conservation Union tells that all subspecies of African elephants, forest elephants, and savannah elephants are in danger. If you want to learn about kinds of elephants, read the above detail: how many types of elephants are there worldwide?

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