There are many factors that affect the weight of an elephant. On average an adult weighs about 10,000 lbs. But there are various elements that can cause this figure to increase or decrease.
The African Elephants
The African savanna (bush elephants) are the largest variants alive today. On average they weigh over 16,000 lbs (over 8 tons). They can reach a height of over 13 ft. The largest one on record weighed over 13 tons. That is more or less 30,000 lbs. The longest tusks found so far measure 11 ft. The heaviest tusks weighed a combined 460 lbs.
The African type has many distinguishing characteristics over the regular elephant. Aside from size, its ears go down around the shoulder area. A fully grown male (bull) usually reaches a height of 13 ft (around 4 m). The weight of an elephant is around 15,300 lbs or 7,000 kg for this type.
Females (called cows) are smaller. The average height is 9 ft (3 m). Their weight average is 8,000 lbs or 3,600 kg. However females higher than 9 ft have been reported, but not yet confirmed.
Asian elephants are not as large as the bush elephants. Their ears don’t drape and they are shorter. While stockier, the males max out at 10 ft. That is about the size of the female bush elephant. The Asian male typically weighs 5,000 lbs (2,300 kg). Females reach heights of 8 ft (2.5 m) and weigh 6,500 lbs (3,000 kg).
Measuring the Weight of an Elephant
Trying to determine its true weight is difficult. Because weighing scales isn’t possible, scientists use other means. One way is to measure the animal’s girth, its length and the footpad.
The measurement is done in centimeters. The girth around the heart is then multiplied by 11.5. The length is multiplied by 7.55. The footpad is multiplied by 12.5. These are added to get a weight assessment. The resulting figure is its weight in kilograms. After that, it is merely a matter of converting it into pounds or tons.
Factors that Affect Weight
The estimates are based on elephants fed properly in zoos. The weight of an elephant will be influenced by their environment. Those living in the forests or fending for themselves weigh less. The abundance or lack thereof of food and water will also affect its weight. Obviously a sick elephant will lose appetite and also some pounds.
These animals by the way, are always growing. Whatever the average height / weight, it continues to increase as the animal is alive. Well fed babies weigh about 160 kg and gain a kilogram a day.
Their weight gain continues well into adulthood. To be more specific: the animal is equivalent to 80 people weighing 150 lbs each. That is also equal to a couple of pickup trucks. Other animals like the rhinoceros, do not come close.
Learning the weight of an elephant can be a fascinating activity. As one gets to know more about the animal, the appreciation for it increases too.