Looking at an extremely big animal as if elephants probably make us questioning several essential facts including what do elephants eat ‘and how they can survive with that big body. You are on the right path because we want to dig all of it. Check this out!
Nevertheless, before that, let us look at the overview of elephants. As the biggest living land creature on earth, elephants are included in the Elephantidae family. Their most noticeable characteristic is their long trunk, columnar legs, and big head, flat and wide ears.
Where Do Elephants Live
With the ubiquitous shade of skin that is grayish to brownish, most the elephants live in grasslands, savannas, and forest. They are not limited in only those three areas.
Otherwise, you still can find elephants in swamps, desserts, and highland areas in surrounding tropical and subtropical regions, like Asia and Africa. The only difference with the previous one is only a few elephants from specific species that live in these areas.
The Preferable Diet and Eating Habit
In term of diet, the elephant can take their meal daily around 150 to 170 kg or 330 to 375 lb of vegetation.
Elephants eat this big amount of food for approximately 16 to 18 hours a day. Compare to the whole 24 hours, so we can say 80% time of the day is used to eat and eat. Now no need to wonder if the question how long does it takes to take it all.
Multiple variations of vegetation become the primary dietary of what do elephants eat, starting from tiny plants, bushes, grasses, twigs, fruits, roots, and tree bark. Among all of them, tree bark is the most favorable diet source for elephants.
The nutrition also completes for the health of elephants because it contains roughage and calcium that can help elephants’ digestion. For carving, elephants will use tusk until the trunk and the bark tears off.
Enough water should balance a big amount of food too. Elephants need almost 69 to 99 L, equal with 18 to 26 gallon. The maximum capacity is up to 40 gallons or 152 L. Surprisingly, male elephants can consume up to 55 gals or 212 L in less than 5 min.
Besides the diet from vegetation and so much water consumption, elephants usually dig up the soil to acquire minerals and salt. To churn the earth, they will try to use their tusks.
Afterward, they will locate broken off crumbs of the soil into their mouth to gain extra nutrition. The remaining areas often result in burrows. That burrows are few feet deep with the primary minerals are designed to be accessible to the other animals.
Take an example, for, over the past time, African elephants have deep dug the burrows to get additional minerals and salt licks inside a volcano mountainside area on the border of Ugandan.
In other cases, the Asian elephants in Sumatera Island Indonesia and India have dug hills to gain nutrients from minerals and salt. The dug areas in the scenery offer nutritious diet and resource of getting shelter for a variety system of indigenous wildlife.
Trunk as Hand Replacement and Survival System
Talking about elephants is hard to be separated with a discussion about the trunk. Turns out, it is not just a long-shaped of the nose. Anatomically, a trunk is a combination of nose and upper lips with the nostrils are placed at the tip.
Thanks to this trunk, elephants are considered as agile, independent, and mobile animal. It is because they use trunk like a hand.
When they want to hold a branch or another food and scratch their skin within the capacity of the trunk, it will be very useful. On specific case when the trunk cannot reach a certain place or function, elephants will need a supported tool. However, it is rare.
The trunk also becomes an important part for elephants when they meet with each other. Usually, they will intertwine the trunks immediately when they see their peer. On the other hand, they also sometimes touch the other faces as a sign of friendship.
Breathing, eating, and drinking are also primary functions of the trunk. Elephants tend to use trunk instead of mouth to breath. The way they drink through trunk is by sucking it roughly 10 L of water and squirting it with mouth afterward.
In term of eating, they detach leaves, fruits, grasses, or other vegetation with the trunk and then locate it to the mouth. Sometimes elephants gather dust and spray it to themselves as protection against sunburn and insects.
When the danger escalates, they will swivel and raise the trunk like an olfactory periscope, and then they will sniff the air to collect information.
That is a quick review to answer what do elephants eat, where they live, and what their specific habit that maybe not under everyone’s knowledge before. Let’s save our nature and help the preservation of elephants by not ruining their natural habitat.