How much does an elephant weigh?

October 28, 2019

How much does an Elephant weigh? Elephants, the world’s largest land mammals, can be split into two different genera, separating Asian and African Elephants. The genus Elaphas corresponds to Asian Elephants and includes four different subspecies. The genus Loxodonta includes two different African Elephant species. Since the different species are adapted to different environmental conditions, they therefore vary in size and consequently also in weight. Overall, the African elephant is larger than the Asian elephant.

Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus)

The Asian elephant species is divided into four subspecies, which are spread over four different geographical locations. The subspecies, the Sri-Lankan elephant (E. m. maximus) can be found in Sri Lanka, the Sumatran elephant (E. m. sumatranus) in Sumatra, the Indian Elephant (E. m. indicus) throughout the mainland of Asia and the Borneo pygmy elephant (E. m. borneensis) in Borneo (NatGeoa, Fernando et al. 2003). Asian elephants typically live from sea level to 3000-meter (10.000 feet) altitude, in evergreen, dry deciduous forests, swamp and grasslands as well as thorn scrub jungle (Macdonald 2010).

Between subspecies, the largest is known to be the Indian elephant and the smallest the Borneo pygmy elephant (Sukumar et al. 1988, Sukumar 2006). Different size and weight measurements of all different subspecies are not available, but averages over the larger three subspecies, the Sri-Lankan -, Sumatran – and Indian elephant, are available, as well as indications of weight measurements of the Bornean pygmy elephant. The larger three subspecies of Asian elephants have a shoulder height of about 2.5 – 3 meters (8.2 – 9.8 feet), whereas the shoulder height of the Bornean pygmy elephant is significantly smaller. Living for about 60 years, the Asian elephant eats between 75 and 150 kg (165 – 330 pounds) of vegetation every day.

Not all male Asian elephants have tusks. Some males have smaller, inwards laying tusks called tushes, which only stick about 5 centimetres (0.16 feet) out of the mouth. Typically, the Asian female elephant does not have tusks but tushes. Some female and male Asian elephants do not have either of them. Previous research suggests that individuals with tusks usually do not grow as tall as individuals with tushes, but tusk- and tushless individuals grow the tallest (Kurt & Kumarasinghe 1998).

Average weight of the larger three subspecies of Asian elephants

Average weight of Male Asian Elephant

A male Asian elephant weighs on average 5 tons (11.000 pounds), ranging between individuals and subspecies from 3.5 to 6 tons (7,700 – 13,200 pounds) (Kurt & Kumarasinghe 1998, Macdonald 2010, NatGeoa, Sukumar et al.

Average weight of Female Asian Elephant

A female Asian elephant weighs on average 2.7 tons (about 6.000 pounds), ranging between subspecies from about 2 to 3.5 tons (4,400 – 7,700 pounds) (Kurt & Kumarasinghe 1998, NatGeoa, Macdonald 2010, Sukumar et al. 1988).

Average weight of Baby (calf) Asian Elephant

A baby Asian elephant, normally called calf, weighs on average about 100 kg (220 pounds) when born (NatGeoa, Macdonald 2010). Calves grow quickly in their first year, gaining about 1 kg (2.2 pounds) daily. From the age of two onwards, male calves grow faster than females (Sukumar et al. 1988).

Borneo Pygmy Elephant (E.m. borneensis)

The less aggressive and genetically distinct subspecies is much smaller compared to its Asian cousins and is recognizable though its’ almost child-like look (Fernando et al. 2003, WWF NatGeoa). In fact, the subspecies consist of the smallest living elephants, and is about 90 centimetres (3 feet) smaller compared to other Asian elephant subspecies.

Average weight of Male Borneo Pygmy Elephant

The male Borneo pygmy elephant typically does not grow taller than 2,3 meters (7.5 feet) and weighs no more than 3 tons (6,600 pounds) (Stüwe 2006).

Average weight of Female Borneo Pygmy Elephant

Average weight of a female Borneo pygmy elephant is probably lower than the average weight of the male, however no weigh data is available.

Average weight of baby (calf) Borneo Pygmy Elephant

A Borneo pygmy elephant calf reportedly weighs up to 90 kg (200 pounds) (NatGeoa).


African Elephant

There are two different species of African elephants, the larger Savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana), and the smaller Forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) (Roca, Georgidas, O‘Brian 2005). The Savanna elephant typically lives in Sub-Saharan Africa, on savannah grassland, woodland and bushland. The Forest elephant lives in Central and West Africa in dense lowland jungle (Macdonald 2010).

With a shoulder height of about 3.3 meters (10.8 feet) for males and 2,7 meters (8.9 feet) for females, the Savannah elephant is much taller compared to the Forest elephant, where males reach an average of 2.2 meters (7.2 feet) and females about 2 meters (6.6 feet) in height (NatGeob).

Living for around 70 years, an adult African elephant drinks approximately 200 litres (50 gallons) of water and consumes anything between 100 and 150 kg daily (220 – 330 pounds), which constitutes to about 70.000 calories (NatGeob). In African elephants, both males and females have tusks. Tusks grow to about 1.8 meters (5 feet) in length and weigh each around 23 kg (50 pounds) (NatGeob). A trunk of an African elephant can weigh up to around 140 kg (300 pounds) and contains about 100.000 muscles (NatGeob).

Average weight Savanna Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Average weight of Male Savanna Elephant

A male Savanna elephant weighs on average 6 tons (about 13,000 pounds) (Macdonald 2010, NatGeob, Stuart & Stuart 2006). The heaviest male elephant ever recorded weighted 11 tons (about 24,000 pounds) and had a height of nearly 4 meters (about 13 feet) (NatGeob).

Average weight of Female Savanna Elephant

The average weight of a female Savanna elephant is about 3.1 tons (about 7,000 pounds), data ranging from 2.7 to 3.6 tons (about 6,000 to 8,000 pounds) (Macdonald 2010, NatGeob, Stuart & Stuart 2006).

Average weight of Baby (calf) Savanna Elephant

The Savanna Elephant calf weighs on average about 110 kg (240 pounds). Weight data ranges from 90 kg to 120 kg (around 200 – 270 pounds) (Macdonald 2010, NatGeob). Similar to the Asian elephant, the calves grow quickly, gaining an average of 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of weight every day in their first year (Macdonald 2010).

Average weight Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis)

Compared to the Savanna elephant, the Forest elephant is smaller in size and therefore weighs less. The average weight of both female and male Forest elephants is estimated at about 2.3 tons (5,000 pounds) (NatGeob).

Average weight of Male Forest Elephant

Weight data of the average weight of a male Forest elephant is estimated at 3 tons, data ranging from 2.8 to 3.2 tons (about 6,200 to 7,000 pounds) (Stuart & Stuart 2006).

Average weight of Female Forest Elephant

The average weight of a female Forest elephant ranges between 1.8 and 2.5 tons (4,000 and 5,500 pounds) (Stuart & Stuart 2006).

Average weight of Baby (calf) Forest Elephant

There is no weigh data available specifically for Forest elephant calves, however it is probably similar to other weight data of the elephant calves.


Fernando P, Vidya TNC, Payne J, Stuewe M, Davison G et al. (2003) DNA analysis indicates that Asian elephants are native to Borneo and are therefore a high priority for conservation. PLoS Biology, 1: 110-115.

Kurt F, Kumarasinghe J (1998) Remarks on body growth and phenotypes in Asian Elephant Elephas maximus. Acta Theriologica, 43, 5: 135-153.

Macdonald DW (2010) The encyclopedia of mammals. Oxford University press. ISBN:978-0-19-956799-7.

National Geographic a (2019) Asian elephant.

National Geographic b (2019) African elephant.

Roca AL, Georgidas N, O‘Brian SJ (2005) Cytonuclear genomic dissociation in African elephant species. Nature genetics, 37, 1: 96-100.

Stuart CT, Stuart MD (2006) Field guide to the larger mammals of Africa. Struik Nature.

Stüwe M (2006) Conservation GIS project, the technology: How does it work? Smithsonian National Geologic Park.

Sukumar R (2006) A brief review of the status, distribution and biology of wild Asian Elephants. The zoological society of London, 40: 1-8.

Sukumar R, Joshi NV, Krishnamurthy V (1988) Growth in the Asian Elephant. Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences (Animal Sciences) 97: 561-571.

World Wildlife Fund (2019) Borneo pygmy elephant.

Sign Up for Our E-Newsletter