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McNair Asian Elephant Habitat

May 2017: Construction was completed on our latest project, doubling the size of the elephant complex! We added a 7,000-square-foot barn custom-built to house the bull elephants, a brand-new expanded habitat that features a boardwalk with an unobstructed view of the elephants in their new yard, and oh yeah… a HUGE 160,000-gallon pool.

This expansion highlights the Zoo’s ongoing work to save wild elephants in Asia. The Houston Zoo participates in elephant protection efforts in Malaysian Borneo, where we have seen the wild elephant population double in size since we began our support.

About the Exhibit

The McNair Asian Elephant Habitat is a fun, naturalistic place for the Zoo’s eight elephants to live and enjoy. Watch the elephants splash around in their enormous pools, or walk over and take a peek inside the barn for the female and young elephants, where you can get a close-up view during their daily baths. Be sure to check our Daily Schedule to find out the time of today’s bath and other Meet the Keeper Talks Presented by Phillips 66:

In the wild, adult male and female elephants live apart. You’ll see the same living arrangement here at the Zoo: our females are in one yard with their calves, while our older male, Thai, and younger males Tucker and Baylor enjoy a newly-expanded space to themselves, including a 6,500-square-foot barn completed in January 2017, and a 160,000 gallon swimming pool!

Farmers in Africa are installing beehives to act as a living fence; they keep the elephants away from farmland and provide honey. See a mock beehive just like this when you visit our elephants!

Saving Elephants in the Wild

The boys are enjoying swimming in their gigantic new pool!

Did You Know?

The brain of an elephant is 3 to 4 times the weight of a human brain, around eleven pounds.

An elephant pregnancy lasts longer than any other mammal at nearly 22 months!

Elephants have just four big teeth; two on the top and two on the bottom, designed for grinding plants. While we get two sets of teeth in our lifetimes, elephants get six! The constant grinding of plants wear the teeth down over time.

Our Asian elephants are an entirely different species than African elephants; Asian elephants are found in the wild in parts of India, and southeast Asia including Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

More Elephant Facts

Check out our Elephant Webcam