This particular specimen, however, appears to have overcome the challenges associated with being half the size of his peers.
"A dwarf prey animal is very likely to be caught by a predator and similarly, a dwarf predator would find it very difficult to catch prey. So such individuals are very unlikely to survive in the wild," says researcher Prithiviraj Fernando, to MongaBay.
"Elephants in Sri Lanka are unique (together with those in Borneo) in that they have no predators. So he was very lucky that he was born here!"
But even though the dwarf elephant has survived to reproductive age, against all odds, passing that the unique trait on will be a logistical challenge -- particularly without access to a step-stool. Still, Fernando says there is a possibility that he'll find a female short enough to mate with successfully.
"Since elephants show a high degree of sexual dimorphism with males being much bigger, he may be able to manage."