What does an elephant's diet consist of?

What do elephants eat?

What do elephants eat?
06/29/22

Elephants are the largest land mammals, so what do they eat to fuel their huge bodies? It’s hard to imagine an animal this big could possibly get full or even eat enough to have enough energy to function. Elephants on average weigh up to six tons and can eat all day long, so this is no easy feat. Our elephant nonprofit wants to share with you what an elephant's diet consists of, how much they eat and how many times they eat in a day.

What do elephants eat?

For being large animals it makes sense that they are always hungry and are constantly eating! So, what do elephants eat? Elephants are vegetarians that eat roots, grasses, fruit and bark. Tree bark is among the favorite of food sources for elephants. Bark is rich in calcium and roughage which helps their digestion. Elephants will use their trunks to help peel off bark from tree trunks to eat. As well as food, elephants also consume mass amounts of water. Adult elephants can consume up to 55 gallons of eater in around five minutes! To get nutrients that include salt and minerals, elephants will dig up dirt and soil with their tusks. 

How much do they eat?

On average an elephant eats for 16 hours a day. When in the wild 600 pounds of food can be consumed in 24 hours. A normal amount of food is 250 to 300 pounds. When in a zoo, elephants eat four to five bales of hay and around 18 pounds of grain. When it comes to water consumption per elephant, they consume around 100 to 200 liters. It’s no secret that elephants eat a lot, but they are also unable to digest all of that food. 50 percent of that food can be digested properly.

Wild vs captivity

Elephants in the wild and captivity for the most part consume the same foods. The main difference is that elephants in captivity are fed four to five bales of hay each day. In the wild elephants may struggle to find food due to habitat loss. The human population also continues to grow which decreases the food sources available to them. 

Elephant Nonprofit

You can help our elephant nonprofit by supporting African elephant research by joining ‘Herd of Heroes’. You can give a monthly donation of your choice to help us provide care for elephants in zoos. The elephants will receive special care services and reproduction services to help fight extinction. Join down below!

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