Animals in the wild need a few things in order to survive. For example, they need food, water, shelter and enough space to roam around. Without these things, animals can run the risk of being lost forever.
Throughout the years, many animals have run the risk of going extinct because of humans. One of those animals is African elephants. These large animals have lost their food sources due to human encroachment and deforestation.
The lack of food has caused African elephants to raid farmers’ crops. This has resulted in human and elephant conflicts that can result in the loss of an elephant or human. Our African elephant research team wants to share some information about an elephant’s diet and the role it plays in the environment.
What do elephants like to eat?
The size of an elephant can be intimidating. However, elephants are not to be feared. These animals are not hunters. Elephants are herbivores.
The term herbivores means a species that only eats vegetations like plants and bark, which means that they do not kill other animals to get their nutrients. African elephants typically eat every type of vegetarian that is in their ecosystem. They can consume everything from:
African elephants can grow to reach 8.2 to 13 feet and weigh as much as 5,000 to 14,000 pounds. Since these animals are so large, they need a lot of food to survive. You can find African elephants always moving to find their next meal in the African Savannahs and forests.
How much do African elephants eat?
You do not get to be the largest land animal by only eating small quantities of food. African elephants require a lot of food. On average, an African elephant can eat between 200-600 pounds a day.
Since they require so much food, elephants sleep very little. This large species gets an average of two hours of sleep each night. African elephants spend most of their day and night time eating or searching for food.
What impact do African elephants have on the environment?
Many people do not know that an African elephant’s diet plays an important role in the environment. Asking questions like what do elephants like to eat can give you an understanding of the role they play.
As stated above African elephants like to eat a lot of vegetation and fruits. These plants have seeds in them. Elephants help the environment by distributing seeds. Since they do not have tremendous digestive systems, they break down only 40 percent of the food they eat.
The rest of the food and seeds they eat then pass through their digestive tract. As they travel around looking for food, they distribute seeds across the African forests and Savannahs through their dung. This helps new grasses, bushes and trees to grow to boost the health of the savannah’s ecosystem.
Help our African elephant research
At For Elephants, we are researching the best conservation practices for African elephants in the wild and zoos. You can help us continue our research by joining the “Herd of Heroes” and making monthly donations. To get regular updates regarding research and events, subscribe to our newsletter!