Difference Between African and Indian Elephant (With Table)

No other land animal is as large as elephants. Even though they are enormous, their cuteness and jovial nature win the hearts of humans. Elephants are native of only Africa and Asia, and there are physical differences between the two.

African Elephant vs Indian Elephant

The main difference between African elephants and Indian elephants is that African elephants are heavier and stronger than Indian elephants. Many physical characteristics are there that distinguish the two. They can be distinguished by the size of their ears and the shape of their heads.

African elephants are huge and heavy. All African elephants have tusks. They have huge fan-shaped ears and a round head. Their nose and upper lip come together to make trunks, and these trunks have two fingers-like features on end. This trunk has multiple uses and is very crucial for elephants.

Indian elephants are smaller in size. They have small ears but long tails. Only some male Indian elephants have tusks. They have two domes on their heads. They spend their day walking a long way, and they are very important for the ecosystem to ply normally.

Comparison Table Between African and Indian Elephant

Parameters of Comparison

African Elephant

Indian Elephant


African elephants are bigger than Indian elephants.

Indian elephants are smaller than African elephants.


The average weight of an African elephant is between 4,000-7,500kg.

The average weight of an Indian elephant is between 3000-5,000kg.


Both male and female African elephants grow tusks.

Only a few male Indian elephants grow tusks.

Size of ears

African elephants have large fan-shaped ears.

Indian elephants have small-sized ears.

Shape of head

African elephants have fuller, rounder heads. The top of their heads has a single dome.

An Indian elephant has a twin-domed head that has an indent in the middle.


African elephants have short and round lips.

Indian elephants have long and tapered lips.


African elephants have more ribs.

Compared to African elephants, Indian elephants have fewer ribs.


African elephants got hard and heavily ringed trunks.

Indian elephants’ trunks are not as heavy as African elephants.


African elephants have short tail.

Indian elephants have longer tails.

What is African Elephant?

African elephants are larger than any other land animal. An adult African elephant can be 7.5m long and weigh between 4,000-7,500kg. Elephants have a lifespan of 70 years.

Their trunks are an amalgamation of their nose and upper lips. They use their trunks to smell, breathe and drink. They also use it to handle food and other objects, and it is also their mean of communication.

There are two types of African elephants, African Savanna or bush elephant and African forest elephant. The African forest elephant is smaller in size and has different coloured tusks. They also differ in their shape and size of their ears and skulls.

Both male and female African elephants have tusks. However, males have larger tusks than females. Bush elephants’ tusks are curving, while on the contrary, forest elephants’ tusks are straight.

African elephants feed themselves with leaves and branches of bushes and trees. They also eat fruits and barks. These elephants can eat around 136kg of food in a single day.

What is Indian Elephant?

An adult Indian elephant can be 2-3m long and weigh between 3000-5,000kg. An Indian elephant has a lifespan of around 48 years.

They have longer tails compared to other elephants. They have large heads, but their necks are small, so their body weight is carried by their legs. Indian elephants trunks have no bones and have 40,000 muscles in them.

Indian elephants wander around most of the day, so they need very large areas to live. They inhabit from forest to grassland.

These animals spend 19 hours a day eating. They mostly eat grass but also consume fruits like bananas and sugarcane. They also eat stems, roots, and barks. They defecate 16-18 times a day while wandering, and this way, they fill a large portion of land with their dung which helps to scatter seeds and nutrients on the land. This is why elephants have been given the designation of ecosystem engineers.

Elephants also eat plants and clear the land for new possibilities. Elephants are intelligent animals and tend to have complex social lives similar to humans.

Main Differences Between African and Indian Elephant

  1. African elephants are heavier than Indian elephants. They are bigger than Indian elephants.
  2. African elephants have one dome on their head, which means they have a round head. Indian elephants, on the other hand, have a twin-domed head as they have an indent in the middle of their head.
  3. Though both African and Indian elephants eat similar kinda food, African elephants mostly eat leaves and branches of bushes and trees, and Indian elephants fill their stomach with grass.
  4. A fascinating thing about elephants is their tusks. But all elephants do not have tasks. Only a number of male Indian elephants have tasks. Whereas both male and female elephants of Africa have tusks. But male Indian elephants’ tusks are more curved and thicker than African elephants. Indian elephants’ teeth are more tightly compressed.
  5. African elephants have enormous ears, whereas Indian elephants have smaller ears.
  6. African elephants got more wrinkled skin than Indian elephants.


The easiest way to identify the two species is by looking at the size of their ears and the shape of their heads. Their trunks are a fascinating feature of them.

Elephants have their role in maintaining the ecosystem by scattering seed and nutrients with their dung. But for the decrease of forest and hunting of humans, elephants are under threat of being endangered. Indian elephants have been reduced by 50%, and 90% of African elephants have lost their lives in the past century as a result of the ivory trade. Lately, International elephant conservation is prioritizing the control of ivory stockpiles.

The old saying says, “an elephant never forgets”, and it is hoped that you will not forget the differences between the two species now, after reading this.


  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3543921
  2. https://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1990.tb05674.x