McNair Asian Elephant Habitat
Update May 2017: Construction is complete on our latest project, doubling the size of the elephant complex! We’ve 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.
Our Elephant Herd
Thai is the patriarch of the herd, father to Baylor, Tupelo and Duncan.
Methai is the oldest female and has the most pink on her face; Asian elephant faces get pinker with age.
Shanti is the tallest female and mom to Baylor and Duncan.
Tess joined the Zoo with son Tucker in 2008, and here she had her second calf Tupelo.
Tucker is a bold young male, and the second-largest bull in the herd.
He’s named after the Baylor College of Medicine team working with us to fight the dangerous EEHV virus.
Daughter to Tess, this little girl is as sweet as her name. She was born in 2010.
Born in 2014, our youngest member of the elephant herd is growing fast.
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!
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.