1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

What is an Elephant?


Well, we all know what an elephant is, but what do we know about elephants?

The word "elephant" comes from the Greek word elaph, which means ivory. Elephants are very interesting looking animals. They are the largest land mammals in the world. There are only two species of elephants today, the African elephant and the Asian elephant.

The African Elephant:

The African elephant lives south of the Sahara Desert in Africa. They need large ears to cool off their bodies. Some live on the flat grasslands, called savannahs, while others live in the forest. The elephants that live in the forest have a smaller body and tusks than the elephants that live on the savannahs.


  • Swayed back (dip in its back)
  • Flat forehead
  • Trunk has rings all the way down
  • Trunk has two fingers at the tip
  • Ears are large and wide

The Asian Elephant:

The Asian elephant is smaller than the African elephant and has smaller ears. Asian elephants live in jungle habitats. It's quite different than the desserts of Africa. Water and vegetation is more plentiful in the jungle. They do not need wrinkled skin to trap moisture or large ears to fan their bodies.


  • Rounded back
  • Humped forehead
  • Smoother trunk
  • Trunk has one finger
  • Small ears

What is an Elephant? Online Quiz

Elephants - Learn more about African and Asian elephants and answer the questions.

More on African Elephants and Asian Elephants.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.