There is no doubt that elephants are one of the most incredible creatures that have ever lived on our planet. As you are probably aware, they are the largest mammals in the world, at least when it comes to land mammals. These incredibly intelligent animals can be divided into two groups – African and Asian. Obviously, their names are derived from the places where they live. Even though they look similar, there are some huge differences between, so in order to find out how long elephants live, it is the best idea to learn more about the characteristics of each type.
Characteristics of African and Asian elephants
The African elephant is the bigger one and weights up to 7 tons. Of course, this is a taller elephant too with a height that goes between 10 and 13 feet. On the other hand, Asian elephants weight between 3.25 and 5.5 tons and they can grow up to 12 feet. The natural habitat and genetics are the two main factors that made these elephants different in terms of their size.
If we take a close look at their physical characteristics, we will see that they have some differences that are visible. For example, the African elephant has bigger ears, but both species use their ears to lower the bodily temperature. On the other hand, the Asian elephant comes with four toes compared to the three toes found in African elephants.
What is interesting to know is that Asian elephants are used for a wide range of domestic activities. People in Asia have used elephants as pets and working animals for hundreds of years. It is not unusual in some countries and regions in Asia to ride an elephant as part of some ceremony. In the past elephants were used in industrial and construction activities. Today, tourists get a chance to ride an elephant as part of some adventure tours.
How long do elephants live?
When it comes to elephant life expectancy, you can find many sources saying that their life expectancy is somewhere between 60 and 70 years. However, the life expectancy of elephants depends on many factors. For instance, the elephant species play a role in determining how long elephants live. Generally speaking, Asian elephants live shorter lives because most of them are used as working animals. Some statistics show that Asian elephants in Myanmar where they are used in different industries live around 40-41 years.
On the other hand, people in Africa often kill elephants and this is the reason why their median age is lower. It is also good to know that elephant that live in captivity (in zoos) live shorter compared to their wild counterparts. Some statistics show that elephants born in zoos usually live around 20-25 years. These figures are terrifying. However, many zoos are taking measures to improve the life of elephants in their facilities and hope that these changes will extend the lives of their elephants.
So, the life expectancy of 60 to 70 years is true only when elephants have ideal living conditions.