How can you identify a male and female elephant?

Elephants are the largest living land mammals on earth and are also very intelligent. There is a lot to say about elephants — specifically, their behaviour, social structure, and the way they communicate with each other.

Have you ever wondered what their gender might be? As the genitals are often hidden by the legs, here are some ways to identify the physical differences between male and female elephants.

There are differences in features. The male's head is broader between the eyes and forehead, whereas the female's forehead forms a sharper angle. These disparities are more pronounced on adult elephants than younger elephants, where it can be more challenging to identify these nuances. Female and male Asian elephants can have small tusks. Adult females can also be distinguished by their two breasts or mammary glands which are located between their front legs, when a female is pregnant or feeding these begin to swell and will forever remain more prominent after breastfeeding. For Asian elephants, tusks, called tushes, are not a definitive indication.

Size can also be a key indicator of the gender of the elephant. Fully-grown male elephants are much bigger than fully-grown female elephants. However, this is a harder comparison for the onlooker when there's a single elephant roaming or a herd with juveniles and pre-adolescents. 

For behavioural traits, male elephants tend to roam on their own or in a small group as they leave the breeding herd at the age of around 13 to 14 years old when puberty sets in. The female is generally in strongly bonded, breeding herds and surrounded by their relatives of the natal herd.

We hope these hints will help you to have a better idea of how to determine the sex of elephants.