What do elephants eat
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It has been estimated that there were about 350 species of elephants in the world in the past. But there are only two species present today which are Asian elephants and African elephants. Naturally, elephants eat so much food about 150kg in one day. They are obligate herbivores. Hence they are incapable of digesting meat. When it comes to what do elephants eat they mostly depend on grass. Also, they eat grass along with some leaves. Except grass elephants take flowers, wild fruits, bananas, bamboos, shrubs as their meal. Much of this food is not digested completely in their digestive system.
They are capable of digesting only 40% of the food they eat. This gives a high volume to their dung and also makes it impossible for them to take a number of nutrients that they need. In a drought, grasses may dry and die. Since grass in unavailable to eat they eat almost any kind of vegetation. They can reach to fruits and leaves which other animals cannot reach using their trunks. If leaves are too high in a tree and can barely reach the branch they wrap the trunk around the branch and shake rapidly in order to break it. If it is also impossible they tend to fall trees down and eat their foliage. Not only leaves but also they turn to bark and the woody parts of the plant. Not only the terrestrial part of the plant they eat roots of some kind of plants. They use their tusk to dig roots. This action of elephants can lead a land to become savannah into an oasis. Tusk can also be used to dig for water and they make it available not only to themselves but also to other animals. Those water holes are used by animals and birds to help in their populations.
Elephants prefer high-quality grasses to woody plants. There are two primary feeding peaks in a day of an elephant. An adult elephant spends 73-90% of the time in a day to search for food and to feed them. Usually, they feed 7kg of plant materials per an hour. The amount needed is changed when a female elephant is in the gestation period. Elephants gestation period are longer than any other terrestrial animal. Asian elephants stay pregnant for whole 21 months while African elephants stay for 22 months. They take a massive amount of food in order to feed both embryo and themselves.
Elephants are known as versatile feeders. They search for food walking through a large area in a day. In the dry season, they usually walk I thousands of kilometers in search of food and water. Because of their weak digestive system they cannot digest seeds they have eaten and they carry them with their stool in large amounts. By dropping the stool while migrating through various lands those seeds are placed in everywhere. This helps in plant propagation. And also this dung is used by beetles and monkeys as a food source because of this. What Do Elephants Eat
When a food source is found they do not leave it behind for other animals. They use the same route which they have been used for a long time. Nowadays it has become a huge problem because of deforestation by mankind the land available for walking has been reducing. The irruption of wild elephants to villages has been increased because of this reason. Since the habitats of elephants are getting smaller and smaller with the time their choice of food has become limited. Therefore a competition for food in a particular area within elephants in a population has raised.
For the nutritional requirement of elephants, minerals are also needed. They dig earth and rocks to find salts and minerals. They place those soil chunks in their mouth. This is attempted to restore the balance. Also, most of these are passed undigested to dung. What Do Elephants Eat
One can think that eating this much of food does not affect teeth of elephants? It is mentioned that an individual elephant eats about 150kg of food in one day. The teeth should be strong enough to tolerate that much amount of food and what do elephants eat. This fact obviously impacts on teeth of elephants. They grind their massive back teeth together for a long time in order to grind plant materials to small pieces. It is essential to get food in contact with enzymes contained in saliva in mix them with food. Food is digested through the action of enzymes. Since the plant parts which elephant eats is very large in size they have to chew them for a long duration of time. This can be acted to wear down the tooth to enamel. But this may not a large issue because the cycle of gaining teeth in elephants is different from most of the other animals. The old teeth located in the back of the jaw which are used to grind are replaced by new teeth by pushing them forward. This has happened six times in an elephant’s lifespan.
The main thing of an elephant’s daily routine is eating but it is changed when they are sick or when they have lost one of their children. Elephants stay starving days without eating when one of these incidents occurs. This condition is obviously harmful because the amount of food what do elephants eat is essential to maintain their huge body and functions. On the other hand, only 40% of ingested food is digested and staying without eating may ultimately kill them. What Do Elephants Eat
Also, Read Elephant Facts For Kids