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MEASUREMENT AND WEIGHT- Editorial Comment

Editorial Comment (Editorial Overview Text Replicated on Overall Species page - Forest Elephant - Loxodonta cyclotis)

LENGTH
Adult: 
Head and body length of adult males is 6.0 - 7.5 m (20 - 24.5 ft) and of adult females, 5.4 - 6.9 m (18 - 22.5 ft).

  • Note: "body length" is defined differently in different texts. Mammalogists refer to the "head and body length" of an animal, from the nose tip to the base of the tail; these lengths are given in the species pages. This is NOT the same as the various "body length" measurements used for weight estimation, indicated in the page Medicating Elephants (Techniques Overview).

Newborns: --

HEIGHT
Adults and sub-adults: The height at the shoulder for males averages about 2.5 m, with a range of 1.6 to 2.86 m; for females, shoulder height averages about 2.1 m with a height range of 1.6 - 2.4 m.
Juveniles: Calves measure about 0.8 - 1.05 m at the shoulder at birth.

WEIGHT
Adult: 
Little data is available specifically for the forest elephant, however, weight ranges of 2,000 - 4,500 kg or 2,700 - 6,000 kg have been suggested, with suggested weights for males of up to 6,000 kg and for females up to 3,000 kg.
Newborns: Elephant calves weigh about 90-120 kg, with an average of 106 kg, but with females averaging less than males and not exceeding 100 kg at birth.

GROWTH RATE Growth rate is faster in males than in females from about four years old; at puberty, the growth rate of females levels off but males show a growth spurt. 

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

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Length

Adult SUMMARY: Head and body length of adult males is 6.0 - 7.5 m (20 - 24.5 ft) and of adult females, 5.4 - 6.9 m (18 - 22.5 ft).
  • Head and body, including the trunk, 600 - 750 cm. (B147)
  • Males: Head and body length 6.0 - 7.5 m (20 - 24.5 ft). (B285.w3)
  • Females: Head and body length 5.4 - 6.9 m (18 - 22.5 ft). (B285.w3)
  • A subspecies has been described, Loxodonta cyclotis pumilio, with a length of only 2.4 - 2.8 m (7.9 - 9.2 ft). (B285.w3)
  • Note: "body length" is defined differently in different texts. Mammalogists refer to the "head and body length" of an animal, from the nose tip to the base of the tail; these lengths are given in the species pages. This is NOT the same as the various "body length" measurements used for weight estimation, indicated in the page Medicating Elephants (Techniques Overview).
Neonate / Young SUMMARY: --
  • --

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Height

Adult SUMMARY: The height at the shoulder for males averages about 2.5 m, with a range of 1.6 to 2.86 m; for females, shoulder height averages about 2.1 m with a height range of 1.6 - 2.4 m.
  • Males:
    • Shoulder height 160-286 cm, mean 250 cm. (B147)
    • Shoulder height 3.3 m (10.8 ft). (B285.w3)
    • Average 2.5 m, range 1.6 - 2.86 m. (B387.w4)
  • Females:
    • Shoulder height 160-240 cm, mean 210 cm. (B147)
    • Shoulder height 2.7 m (8.9 ft). (B285.w3)
    • Average 2.1 m, range 1.6 - 2.4 m. (B387.w4)
Neonate / Young SUMMARY: Calves measure about 0.8 - 1.05 m at the shoulder at birth.
  • Elephant calves are about 0.85 m at the shoulder at birth. (B384.5.w5)
  • At birth the calf is about 0.8 - 1.05 m at the shoulder. (B453.6.w6)

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Weight

Adult SUMMARY: Little data is available specifically for the forest elephant, however, weight ranges of 2,000 - 4,500 kg or 2,700 - 6,000 kg have been suggested, with suggested weights for males of up to 6,000 kg and for females up to 3,000 kg.
  • Weight 2,700 to 6,000 kg. (B147, B387.w4)
  • Weight 2,700 - 6,000 kg (note: very few records). (B387.w4)
  • 2,000 - 4,500 kg. (W580.Sept2005.w1)
  • A subspecies has been described, Loxodonta cyclotis pumilio, with a weight of only 1,800 - 3,200 kg (3,970 - 7,050 lb). (B285.w3)
  • Males:
    • Up to six tonnes. (B285.w3)
  • Females:
    • Up to three tonnes. (B285.w3)
Neonate / Young SUMMARY: Elephant calves weigh about 90-120 kg, with an average of 106 kg, but with females averaging less than males and not exceeding 100 kg at birth.
  • Newborn calves weigh 90 to 120 kg. (B147)
  • African elephant calves weigh about 120 kg (265 lb) at birth. (B285.w3)
  • Elephant calves average about 106 kg; weights not exceeding 100 kg for females but as high as 120 kg for males have been suggested. (B384.5.w5)

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Growth Rate

SUMMARY: Growth rate is faster in males than in females from about four years old; at puberty, the growth rate of females levels off but males show a growth spurt.
  • Growth rate in African elephants is faster in males than in females from about four years old. By puberty, males are about 15 cm higher (shoulder height) and 300 kg heavier than females. At this stage, growth rate of females levels off while males appear to develop a growth spurt, resulting in a height difference of about 20% and males weighing nearly twice as much as females. (B451.7.w7)

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Authors & Referees

Authors Dr Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Referee Susan K. Mikota DVM (V.w72)

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