How Much Do Baby Elephants Weigh?

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Updated: November 2, 2021
© Martin Mecnarowski/Shutterstock.com
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“Don’t be a big baby!” Sounds like an insult, but in the case of baby elephants, it can actually be a compliment.The average (human) baby boy born in America weighs 7.5 lbs (boys typically weigh a little more than girls). Baby elephants are much larger. Let’s dive into how much baby elephants weigh.

How Much Do Baby Elephants Weight?

How long are elephant pregnancies - elephant baby
A newborn elephant. It looks tiny next to a parent but can weigh more than 200 pounds!

©Martin Mecnarowski/Shutterstock.com

Baby elephants weigh around 200 lbs at birth and over the next 20 years grow to be 8,000 -15,000 lbs! They can reach a height of 10-13 feet! Depending on the kind and gender of elephant, babies can start out as “little” as 150 lbs or be as big as 360 lbs.

Here are some baby elephant records to give you perspective on just how big baby elephants can get:

  • The largest baby elephant ever born at the San Diego Zoo was a 281 pound calf. It was born in September, 2018.
  • On May 12, 2020 the Houston Zoo welcomes an even bigger baby elephant. The male Asian elephant calf was 326 pounds!

Baby elephants grow fast! For example, Tucson welcomes a baby elephant in 2020 and within nine months it weighed 900 pounds! The juvenile elephant was gaining about 85 pounds per month! Amazingly, despite the size of elephant calves, twins are possible. Elephants have twins about 1% of time, compared to humans that have twins 3.21% of pregnancies.

Let’s take a closer look at the newborns of each elephant species.

Baby African Bush Elephants

Elephant (Loxodonta Africana) - walking with baby following
An African bush elephant with a baby closely behind!

©Villiers Steyn/Shutterstock.com

The African bush elephant is the largest of all the elephants and the largest land animal. The male babies can be as big as 360 lbs when born, with the average being closer to 260 lbs and 3ft tall. The gestation period for an elephant is around 22 months, which makes sense when you are growing a 260 lb baby! If the elephant had the same gestation as humans, 9 months, the babies would have to put on about 30 lbs a month! When it is spread out over 22 months it is closer to 12lbs per month, something the pregnant female is better equipped to handle.

Within an hour after birth baby elephants are able to stand up and walk around. They have to be able to stand to reach their mother’s bellies to get their first milk. They eat with their mouth, not their trunk as some may think. Baby elephants will drink around 3 gallons of milk a day! They rely solely on milk for about the first four months of life and then gradually add in vegetation. African savanna elephants live in central and southern Africa where there is an abundance of leaves, branches, roots and grasses to eat.

Baby African Forest Elephants

Are elephants mammals - baby elephant with mother
An African Forest Elephant mother with her calf, at the Dzanga saline (a forest clearing) in the Central African Republic.

©iStock.com/USO

The smallest of the elephant species, the African forest elephant is quite similar to the savanna elephant but lives in west and central Africa and as the name suggests, they live in the rainforests. Their diets consist of leaves, tree bark, grass and fruit. Baby African forest elephants are just a bit smaller than savanna elephants but bigger than Asian elephants. They are around 200 lbs at birth and are around 3 feet tall as well. The gestation period for forest elephants is also around 22 months long.

Baby Asian Elephants

Elephant twins - two baby elephants
Two baby Asian elephants

©Saranga/Shutterstock.com

Asian elephants have babies that average 200-250 lbs with some being as small as 150 lbs. Although the Asian elephants have a different look than the African elephant, there are a lot of similarities. The Asian elephants also have very long gestation periods from 18-22 months. Baby elephants start out on their mother’s milk and then gradually add in grass and bamboo. Asian elephants’ diet consists of more grass than African elephants but they still are able to eat enough to grow to enormous sizes. They can grow to be 6,000-11,000 lbs!


The Featured Image

The,Gentle,Mother,Elephant,Takes,Care,Of,Her,Baby,Elephant.
© Martin Mecnarowski/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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