Elephants in Myanmar

Elephant FAQs

Here you’ll find an amazing resource of useful elephant facts and information about these loveable creatures. Did you know that elephants are used as working animals to support communities in many places around the world? Discover more here.

How do elephants drink?

It is common myth that elephants drink water through their trunks. The trunk is vital to the feeding and drinking process for an elephant, but they cannot drink water through their trunks alone. Elephants suck water up part way into their trunk and then use the trunk to spray water into their mouth to drink.

The trunk is a combination of an elephant’s nose and upper lip, used to touch, grab, hold and smell. A fully grown trunk can reach up to two metres long and can lift weights of up to 350 kilograms.
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What do elephants eat?

Elephants are herbivores and eat a wide range of food sources in the wild. Some species of elephant, such as the African elephant, will eat up to 300 kilograms of food every day to sustain themselves. In comparison, a human adult will eat around 1.5–2 kilograms of food per day.

In the wild, elephants eat mostly grass, wild fruits, twigs, shrubs, bamboo and bananas. Their main food source is grass, when it is available to them.

Elephants will also happily eat tree bark, plant roots and even soil. Tree bark is a great source of roughage, which will aid an elephant’s digestion. Tusks are sometimes used to carve into a tree trunk, tearing off strips of bark before feeding.
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How long do elephants live?

The simple answer to this question is between 50–60 years, depending on their situation, living conditions, diet available etc. Just like humans, elephants can die far earlier than this, from natural causes or due to human related activity, such as poaching.

When we think about the lifespan of a working elephant, we can draw upon a recent survey undertaken by scientists at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada. They examined records kept on Asian elephants used for work in the timber industry in Myanmar and concluded that working elephants reached a median age of 41 years.

The oldest elephant ever recorded was named Lin Wang, who died in a Taiwanese zoo at the age of 86.
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How much do elephants weigh?

Elephants are obviously very large animals; African elephants are the biggest land mammals on Earth, but just how big are they?

This depends on which species of elephant we’re talking about. Asian elephants are generally smaller than their African counterparts, weighing in between 2,250 and 5,000 kilograms. African elephants are the largest species of elephant, weighing an average of 5,443 kilograms. The largest African elephants can reach the huge weight of 7,000 kilos.

Although African elephants are the largest land mammals on Earth, they are not the largest mammal of the natural world. If we take a dip under the sea, we’ll find the blue whale, which can reach up to 30 metres in length from head to tail and weigh in excess of 181,000 kilograms! This huge animal is the largest of its kind.
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