Here in this post, we will find out what do elephants eat, what do they eat in the wild and in captivity? What plants do they eat? Just keep reading for more information about elephants. Plant facts and elephant fun facts.
What do elephants eat?
ot surprisingly, elephants eat massive amounts of food — in the case of the African elephant, as much as 660 pounds (~300 kg) in a single day. The smaller Indian elephant eats less — but still a lot for you or me — a maximum of about 330 pounds (~150 kg) — an human adult only eats about four pounds of food a day.
An African elephant can weigh as much as 16,500 pounds, making it the largest terrestrial animal.* Keeping a body that massive moving requires many football-fields-full of vegetation. It also takes huge amounts of water. Wild elephants spend most of their time either looking for food or eating it once they find it.
African elephants can drink as much as 50 gallons (~190 liters) of water in a single day. Because they drink so often and so much, in the wild they are never far from water, though they may live in a variety of habitats, from thick jungle to open savannas. That is one of amazing facts for kids.
Elephants are not only grazers but also browsers, which makes it easier for them to find food. They eat plants of almost any size, from grass up to trees.
What do elephants eat in captivity?
Their keepers (such as the mahout shown at right, feeding his elephant) may give them cabbage, lettuce, sugar cane, apples, and bananas, as well as other fruits and vegetables. But hay is the mainstay of a captive elephant’s diet. And on a daily basis, elephants eat much less than the maximum amounts mentioned above. For example, according to the website of the National Zoo in Washington, Indian elephants eat only “125 pounds of hay, ten pounds of herbivore pellets, ten pounds of vegetables and fruits, and a few leafy branches.”
What do elephants eat in the wild?
Under natural conditions, elephants eat mostly grass, tree leaves, flowers, wild fruits, twigs, shrubs, bamboo, and bananas. Their main food is grass when it’s available, along with some leaves.
But if the weather turns dry and grass dies back, they will eat almost any kind of vegetation they can find. They will knock down trees to eat their foliage. They will even turn to bark and the woody parts of plants. If you want, you can also check out for cat facts and information.