Can Elephants Have Twins And Triplets? (Surprising Facts!)

Elephants are said to be pregnant for almost twenty-two months. But how many babies can an elephant make in one pregnancy? Let us find out.

So can elephants have twins and triplets? Most elephants give birth to one baby elephant. However, there are very rare cases where some elephants have twins and triplets.

One thing we all think about when we talk about elephants is the size of their body. Elephants are massive. Even the baby elephant is enormous if they get pregnant if you compare it to some babies of other mammals. 

This is one of the reasons why elephants conceive their baby for almost twenty-two months. That is almost twice the pregnancy for humans. There are even some tiny animals that only get pregnant for days.

It makes sense if you think of the size of the babies they were supposed to conceive. The size of a baby elephant is no joke, and it only fits that they are conceived in the womb for twenty-two months. The gestations of elephants are very long, equal to the size of their baby elephants. 

If an elephant gets pregnant, they usually have only one calf with one pregnancy. But there are rare cases that an elephant gives birth to two baby elephants. Let us further discuss this matter.

Can Elephants Have Multiple Babies?

Elephants give birth to one calf only during one pregnancy. But there are many cases where an elephant gives birth to two calves. But this is a very rare case. 

Only one percent of elephants give birth to twins. There are some cases of multiple births that have been reported. There are some cases where elephants give birth to two babies. 

Three species of elephants exist in our world. There is the African forest elephant or Loxodonta cyclotis, Asian elephant or Elephas Maximus, and the African elephant or Loxodonta Africana. 

They are almost the same as each other. However, all three of them have their differences in terms of their sizes. 

Giving birth to a single calf only is the most common across all species of elephants. However, elephants can have multiple babies if nature persists. But it is very rare. 

A single baby elephant is already big enough to conceive and give birth to. If an elephant has multiple babies, it can be risky to the mother and the calves. In the womb, the babies can fight over the nutrients given by the mother. 

In the actual birth, the mortality rate of the baby elephants is very low because it is not easy for the mother elephant to give birth to two or more baby elephants. There are cases reported that only one baby elephant can survive when the mother elephant gives birth to twins or triplets.

Can An Elephant Be Pregnant With Twins?

Yes. Elephants can be pregnant with twins. However, this is a very rare case for pregnant elephants. 

Unlike any other animals that give birth to many babies, elephants can only conceive one baby elephant in one pregnancy. But as mentioned, some elephants can give birth to twins. This is very rare, though. 

It happens to only one percent of elephant births. For humans, females can only give birth to twins with one point six percent. Aside from the fact that elephants having twins is very rare, elephants conceiving and giving birth to two baby elephants can be quite dangerous to the mother elephants. 

A baby elephant would have a massive size even if they were only days old. If a mother elephant would conceive two baby elephants and give birth to two baby elephants, it can be dangerous to the mother and the baby elephant. But in terms of possibility, yes, elephants can be pregnant with twins. 

It is just that the mortality rate of the baby elephant is low. When the baby elephants are still in the womb, they might have a problem with the nutrients because there are both of them that need nutrients. The mother should be able to provide nutrients that are enough for both of them.

elephant twins

Can An Elephant Give Birth To Triplets?

The answer to this is yes. If you ask if an elephant can have triplets, yes, they can be pregnant with triplets. The probability rate of an elephant giving birth to twins is infrequent. 

There is only a one percent probability for twins. If we talk about triplets, then the probability rate will be less than one percent. There are only very few cases reported about elephants giving birth to triplets. 

And if an elephant will give birth to triplets, the condition and the health of the three baby elephants are not very good. The mortality rate will be hazardous. If a female elephant will give birth to triplets, there is a very low probability that all three baby elephants will survive. 

Conceiving one baby elephant is already quite difficult for a mother elephant. If an elephant gives birth to twins or triplets, that will be two or three times harder than having one baby elephant. So you can already imagine the risk of having twins and triplets to elephants. 

One size of one baby elephant is already enormous. How much more if an elephant will conceive one or two more? So you see the dilemma.

elephant triplets

Why Do Elephants Usually Have Only One Baby?

Elephants are not the same as other animals that they give to a lot of babies at once. Unlike other animals that are naturally giving birth to many babies, elephants only conceive one baby elephant at a time. 

This is their natural birth process. However, an elephant can have twins or triplets. But there are risks with having twins and triplets for the mother elephants and the baby elephants. 

There is no definite reason why elephants only have one baby elephant, but it can do with the baby elephant’s size. The size of the baby elephant is quite huge. Even if the baby elephant is still a day old, they are already massive, so the birth of the elephants would focus on the one baby elephant. 

Carrying a baby elephant with its incredible size and weight is not easy. So that can be the reason why elephants usually have just one baby. It is better, though, because the pregnancy and the baby elephant can be safe.


In summary, elephants are considered to have the most prolonged pregnancy in all mammals. They are pregnant around twenty-two months. And they would usually have one baby elephant. 

However, having twins or triplets is not impossible for elephants. Though it is very rare, elephants can get pregnant with twins or even triplets. However, there are some risks associated with twin or triplet pregnancy in elephants.


Image credits – Canva

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I'm David, and safari has been my passion since I was a little boy - I grew up in South Africa. I love to help spread knowledge about safari, so let me know if you have any questions. Read more