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Elephant’s Trunk

Thursday 5 June 2008, by Sébastien Duffillot

Elephant’s Trunk

The trunk, the elephant’s most prominent characteristic, is muscle with no bone. It comprises an extremely extended upper lip and nose, and is used to put grass, leaves and water in the mouth. Elephants consume approximately 250 kg of fodder per day and drink up to 100 litres of water. The trunk of an adult elephant weighs 150 kg on average and contains more than 150,000 muscles.

The trunk is also used as a trumpet, to pull trees apart and tear off leaves, to breathe and to throw dust or water. It acts as a snorkel when crossing rivers or as a swat to drive away flies. It is a tactile and olfactory organ which the elephant uses to communicate within the herd and to detect scents carried by the wind.

Using the finger-like lobe at the end of its trunk and the suction action of its two nostrils, an elephant can collect and examine small objects. The trunk of an Asian elephant can suck in 5 litres-8.5 litres of water before delivering it to the mouth. A trunk can pick up both a coin and a 250-kg tree trunk.

Used like a club, the trunk is a terrifying weapons: in combat, while a male usually uses its tusks, its trunk can literally knock out a weaker adversary.



Asia and Africa

Tusks and teeth






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