How Big Are Elephants?

Elephants are the largest land mammals in the world. Their towering size could make any animal shudder in their steps. After all, even the smallest species of elephants are much larger than most animals. 

African elephants can grow up to 3.2 meters (10.5 feet), whereas the smaller Asian elephants can stand at 2.8 meters (9.2 feet). The tallest elephant recorded in the world was an African Savanna elephant, 3.96 meters (13 feet) tall and weighing 10,886 kilograms (24,000 pounds).

In this article, we’ll talk about the different species of elephants and what size they could grow up to, how big the elephants are at birth, and a lot more.

Big Elephant

Sizes Of Different Elephant Species

There are three species of elephants in the world. 

The two African species are bigger than the smaller Asian elephants. Regardless, Asian elephants still stand at a formidable size.

1. African Savanna Elephant 

The African savanna elephant, also known as the bush elephant, is the largest species of elephant in the world. The ability to grow and roam in savannas has made them much taller than their African counterparts, the forest elephants. 

On average, a male African savanna elephant can grow up as tall as 3.2 meters (10.5 feet). This fantastic species can weigh approximately 6,000 kg (13,000 pounds).

In comparison, female African savanna elephants are smaller than their male equivalent. They can grow to 2.2 to 2.8 meters (7.21-9.2 feet) at the shoulder. They weigh an enormous 3,000 kg (6,600 pounds)

The largest recorded elephant in the world was an African savanna elephant in the San Diego zoo. The elephant weighed approximately 10,886 kg (24,000 pounds) and stood at a shoulder height of 3.96 meters (13 feet).

African Savanna elephant walking

2. African Forest Elephant

Until the early 2000s, the African forest and savanna elephants were classified as one species known as Loxodonta Africana. Scientists finally differentiated between the two African elephants based on their size and other physical features. 

Forest elephants, also known as Loxodonta Cyclotis, can grow to extraordinary heights. A male forest elephant, known as a bull, can reach a shoulder height of approximately 2.4-3.0 meters (7.9-9.84 feet)

Adult male forest elephants can weigh approximately 4,000-7,000 kg (8,800-15,400 lbs).

Female forest elephants, known as cows, have a height of 1.8-2.4 meters (6-8 feet). Female forest elephants are lighter than male elephants, weighing only 2,000-4,000 kg (4,400-8,800 lbs).

African forest elephant

3. Asian Elephants

The Asian elephants are smaller than their African cousins.

Male Asian elephants have an average height of 3.2 meters (10.5 feet) at the shoulder. Their female companions can grow up to 2.6 meters (8.5 feet)

While a male Asian elephant can weigh up to approximately 4,000 kg (8,818 lbs), the female Asian elephant only weighs 2,700 kg (5,952 lbs).

A Sri Lankan elephant is the heaviest elephant amongst the Asian elephant species and can weigh past 12,000 lbs at times. 

The biggest Asian elephant ever recorded in the wild was found in Assam, India, in 1924. It weighed approximately 6,442 kg and stood at an impressive 3.43 meters (11.3 feet) tall at the shoulder.

Asian elephant

Size of an Elephant at Birth

Elephants are the largest land mammals in the world. It is only natural that their newborns, known as calves, are also one of the biggest newborns at birth. 

Elephants around the world, on average, can stand tall at the height of 1 meter (3 feet) at birth and can weigh approximately 120 kg (264 lbs), with an African elephant being able to weigh approximately 165 kg at birth.

Within a year, these elephants can increase their weight to 422-633 kg (930-1,395 lbs). The increase in weight and size directly results from an elephant’s diet and how much it eats daily. 

Comparison of an Elephants Size

Few animals compare to the immense size of an elephant. That is why comparing elephants to vehicles and other big animals might help contextualize just how impressive their size is.

1. Blue Whale

While an African elephant is enormous, when you compare it to the biggest animal on the planet, the blue whale, the African elephant appears to be not too big. 

A blue whale can reach a maximum length of 29.9 meters (98.09 feet) and 199,000 kg (438,720 lbs) in weight. 

Comparing this to an African elephant’s largest height of 3.96 meters and weight of 10,886 kilograms seems manageable. 

2. Toyota Corolla

Let’s compare the elephant’s weight to a vehicle now. One that you might see every day.

The Toyota Corolla has been the flagship vehicle of Toyota for many years. Do you think a Corolla is a match for an elephant’s weight? 

The car only weighs 3,150 pounds compared to an elephant’s largest recorded weight of 24,000 pounds.

3. Bus

Let’s take this comparison a notch up. A bus can have 60 passengers on average, compared to a corolla’s five people at a time.

An average bus can weigh up to 10,000 to 15,000 pounds without passengers and almost 25,000-30,000 pounds when filled with passengers. 

Only a bus filled with passengers weighs more than an elephant.  

We hope these comparisons contextualize the might and magnanimity of an elephant.

African elephant attacks car and run

Final Thoughts About How Big Are Elephants 

Elephants can eat up to 149-169 kg of vegetation each day. It’s logical that they weigh so much and are incredibly tall. 

Being the largest terrestrial animal comes with a lot of responsibility for self-maintenance, especially through eating enough daily. 

FAQs

What Is the Smallest Species of the Elephant?

The Bornean Pygmy elephant is the smallest in the world, only able to grow to a size of 5 feet (1.5 meters) at the shoulder. 

Which Continent Did Elephants Come From?

Scientists estimate that elephants originated from Asia and Africa 4 million years ago. Coincidentally, Asia and Africa are the only two continents where elephants are still in the wild.

How Wide Can an Elephant Grow?

Elephants can grow to impressive sizes when it comes to their shoulder height, but they are also able to get extremely wide. An elephant can achieve a width of 2.1 meters.