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Can Elephants Swim? They do and quite well too. Here’s how they are able to achieve that.

Can elephants swim?

Elephants Underwater (Photo: Zoo Zurich)

When you think of an elephant, what image comes to mind?

Most likely, a large and lumbering land mammal. Also, you would expect such a large creature to shy away from water since it would sink deep into the waters and drown.

Well, if you thought that, you’re wrong. The fact is, elephants are excellent swimmers and that’s

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Elephants have been exploited to the point of extinction by people for centuries now. Just how many elephant species actually exist today?

Sri Lankan Elephant Herd

Sri Lankan Elephant Herd (Author: Adbar cc 3.0)

Though there used to be hundreds of different species of elephants that walked on the surface of the earth at some point, we have just two distinct but very broad species alive today. They are classified under two genera: Loxodonta and Elephants.

Loxodonta are the African elephants while Elephas are the Asian Elephants. However, there are other subdivisions under each of these genera. Let’s have a closer look at each one below.

A. African Elephant Species

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The Asian elephant is the largest living land animal in Asia.

Male Asian Elephant

A Male (Bull) Asian Elephant In Bandipur National Park (Author: Yathin S Krishnappa/Wikimedia Commons cc 3.0)

The Asian elephant, or Asiatic elephant, is the largest living land animal in Asia. There are three recognized subspecies of this elephant: Elephas maximus maximus (Sri Lanka), Elephas maximus indicus (Mainland Asia), and Elephas maximus sumatranus (Sumatra).

The Asian Elephant is generally smaller than the African elephant. Its body is gray and it has small ears. Elephants of this species also have very thick skin: over 1 inch thick on some parts of their body.  The males of the species have large tusks sometimes measuring up to 5 or 6 feet long. Though, some males do not have tusks at all.

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