In a study of Asian Elephants at Lahugala Tank, males were recorded as having the following activity cycle
91.1% = Feeding
5.4% = Walking
1.4% = Resting
1.8% = Bathing
0.1% = Drinking
0.2% = All other activities
Another study at Lahagula Tank records the following activity cycle of solitary males
93.5% = Feeding
1.9% = Walking
0.3% = Contact promoting
3.3% = Play/Aggression
1.0% = All other activities
Female elephant herds spend 70-90% of time feeding.
Male activity shows one peak at around 8 am and another between 4-5 pm. Female herds peak around 10 am and then later between 3:30 and 6 pm.
In a study at Ceylon's Wilpattu National Park; individuals described as secretive and shy:
No evidence of territoriality
Home range size usually small, similar to African Elephants (approx. 14-52 sq.km)
Female groups may overlap and coordinate migrations
Highly social animals with extremely complex behaviors; highly developed (Moss et al 2011):
A matriarch, typically the eldest female, heads a related group of females.
Herds consist of about 8-12 individuals, but sizes can vary. (African Elephant groups: 10 to 20 individuals)
Life centers around the calves in both African and Asian elephant societies.
Females share equally in the care of the young.
Teenage males leave natal herd & often form bachelor groups
Adult male typically described as solitary; no close bonds with other independent males; spend time in families only when following females in estrus
Click here for Asian Elephant sounds. Provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Macaulay Library.
Move with one basic gait, known as the rack or pace (three feet are on the ground most of the time); one foot always on ground
Normal walking speed 2.5-3.7 mph (4-6 km/hr). Charging speed can reach 15.2 mph (6.8 meters/sec) (Hutchinson 2006)
Move very slowly while feeding, or walk quickly. Juveniles may run when playing, but adults only run in flight or attack.
Swim readily at rate of 1.3 mph (2 km/hr). Can stay afloat for up to 6 hours and cover distances of 30 miles (48 km) at a stretch
Can not jump; even a shallow ditch poses a barrier
Can not trot, canter, or gallop
Do not appear frightened by other animals; usually ignore them
Confrontations with Indian rhinoceros probably very rare in wild, but have occurred with domestic elephants that have been ridden into rhino's territory
Mutualistic relationship with some species of birds, such as egrets and piapiac.
Host several parasites, including louse, warble flies, mosquitoes and leeches
Prodigious amounts of dung disperses many seeds and helps enrich soils
Like the African Elephant, function in role of ecosystem "engineer" and as a keystone species
Fernando and Lande (2000)
Hart et al (2001)
Moss et al (2011)
Payne & Langbauer (1992)
Rasmussen and Krishnamurthy (2000)
Santipelli & Suprahman (1986)
Shoshani & Eisenberg (1982)