Indian elephant: characteristics and meaning

L'Indian elephant turns out to be the second largest animal on land, would you ever have said that? Yet the males in fact are on average from five and a half to six and a half meters long with a shoulder height of almost three meters. Just to get an idea, let's consider that they weigh between 3900 and 4700 kilograms. The females are slightly smaller but certainly cannot be said of the small animals. We cannot therefore ignore such a "bulky" animal, we have to dedicate an article to it and I do it with pleasure.

Indian elephant: meaning

More than the Indian elephant, we usually talk about the Asian elephant, in scientific jargon known as Elephas maximus. It is a mammal from the family of elephants, in fact today it appears to be the only survivor of the order of the proboscideans. Even if it is officially called Asian, today we often speak of "Indian" but in truth the Indian one would be only a subspecies of the many that exist today and of which in total there are about 100 thousand examples in the world. Currently of the Elephas four living subspecies are known while two others are extinct.

The living are theElephas maximus maximus, called Elephant of Ceylon, theElephas maximus borneensis, called Elephant of Borneo, the Elephas maximus indicus, called precisely Indian elephant, and the Elephas maximus sumatranus, said Sumatran elephant. The two extinct subspecies are the Elephas maximus rubridens, which lived in northern China up to 1400 BC, and the Elephas maximus asurus, called Syrian elephant.

Indian elephant: characteristics

To tell the story of the elephant it is good to understand how it differs from the African one, precisely to understand why it is always necessary to specify which of the two you are talking about. The Indian has an overall structure similar to that of'African elephant, so let's not imagine two different animals, but certainly of different sizes, especially as regards the male specimens, smaller if Indian, while the females of the two species have a similar size.

There are differences in the shape of the skull, the Indian one shows two prominences and an internal saddle, and differences in the smaller ears. The African elephant has the saddle back and the rump higher than the withers while the Indian has it convex and descending from the withers to the rump. The tusks are also different, the Indian elephant has smaller ones, in general, and sometimes the females have only hinted at them, almost difficult to notice. If we look at the legs of elephants, we can see that the Indian has four clogs in the hind foot, compared to three in the African species.

If instead we look at the head, we notice that the jaw of theasian elephant it has a sort of pendulous and pointed lip at the end, which is missing in the African.

Indian elephant: what it eats

while it wanders in flocks of a couple of dozen individuals, theIndian elephant it feeds mainly on herbs and shoots, in rarer cases also on fruits and barks. Given its size and energy needs, it practically spends the whole day looking for food to get to ingest about 150 kg of fruit and leaves every day.

There social life of these elephants is therefore not so animated, as imaginable, being always busy to get something to eat. Free adult males are solitary, while females and younger males move in groups. They are not frequent but there are periods dedicated to reproduction and the gestation, as imaginable, is very long, it can even last 22 months and at the end only one elephant is born.

From an early age these animals they love very much water, sprinkling it with the trunk to take refreshing baths and in fact they tend to live where there are pools of water, in jungles and prairies, although in some cases we also find them in the mountains.

Geographically speaking, the Asian elephant, also called Indian due to a sort of bureaucratic error, lives throughout the area of ​​Southeast Asia, the one that starts from India and ends in the northern part of Indonesia. However, if we want to talk about the Indian elephant as the official subspecies of the Asian elephant, then we must limit ourselves to considering the specimens that live in the Indian territory.

Indian elephant: god

In the Hindu religion there is a god who has the appearance of an elephant. It is about Ganesha or Ganesh (Sanskrit गणेश Gaṇeśa) eldest son of Shiva and Parvati, often depicted with an elephant head but with only one tusk. As a figure it is not aesthetically appreciable, it is a creature with a pronounced belly and four arms, usually represented while riding or being served by a mouse, its vehicle or sitting, with one leg raised off the ground and folded over the other. The cult of Ganesha it is widespread, even outside India; Ganesha devotees are called Ganapatya.

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