EleFact Friday: Elephants Truly Have Big Hearts

Happy EleFACT Friday. Although elephants’ physical size towers over many other species, the internal organs are proportionally no bigger than those of many other mammals. However, the heart in particular is surprisingly large and can vary in size depending on the elephant’s age and weight. The average weight for an elephant heart is about 12 to 21 kg (26.5- 46.3 lbs.) and comprises about 0.5% of the animal’s total body weight. Comparatively, an adult human heart only weighs about 310 grams, and is the size of a clenched fist.

In terms of heart rate, elephants are actually on the lower end of the spectrum. To hear an adult elephant’s heart rate, an EKG or other amplification methods must be used as opposed to a normal stethoscope. Their hearts beat around 30 times per minute, compared to the human resting heart rate of about 60-100 bpm. Elephants have a significantly higher average blood pressure (about 180mmHg) to keep their much larger vessels open. To counter this, elephants have notably lower resting heart rates. 

Generally, most mammals’ heart rates slow down when resting or sleeping. The elephant is also unique in this way, with a heart rate that actually speeds up when they are lying down. This is because when lying or resting, the weight of their body reduces their lung capacity — leading to both the heart rate and blood pressure increasing. 

Photo of Mara


  1. REPLY
    Carol says

    So interesting. Isn’t nature miraculous!?

  2. REPLY
    Joy says

    Wow. Fascinating. I have been reading Zoobiquity that tells of the humans physiology (both physical and mental) compared to other animals. A human doctor only treats one species, They often specialize in one area.
    A vet treats many species. Here in the states it is harder to get into college to become Vets. than med school for Human doctors.

  3. REPLY
    Wim says

    Because they are special all the way. Their design is magical. Always wondering how hard it must be living like an Elephant. 🐘❤️

  4. REPLY
    Audrey says

    They have big hearts because they are such loving beings. They love their families like humans do. ❤️

  5. REPLY
    Sunny says

    Excellent elefact!

  6. REPLY
    Julie says

    Thank you for the EleFact. And one of the most beautiful photos I have ever seen!

  7. REPLY
    Sherry says

    I believe animals are a lot like humans. They have emotions; anxiety, afraid, apprehensive, joyful, loving, etc.
    When they are born they are taught many life skills by their parents. Animals are very interesting and are born
    free; wildlife that is.

  8. REPLY
    Nanette Cummimgs says

    Always look forward to Friday. So much great information. Thanks for taking the time to teach us.

  9. REPLY
    Andrea says

    A beautiful picture of Mara. She’s so very pretty.

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