This is how elephant sense receptors are helping them find their next meals and avoid danger.

Why elephants have amazing senses

It is no secret that elephants are the largest land mammal on the planet. However, did you know that they also have some of the world's best senses? 

From their touch to hearing, take a look at how elephant sense receptors are helping them find their next meals and avoid danger. 


Even though elephants are the largest mammals, they have relatively small eyes. An elephant’s eye is only 3.8 cm in diameter and paired with long eyelashes. Their long eyelashes protect their eyes from any dirt or debris that might come into their eyes. 

An elephant’s eyes are located on the side of their head instead of in front. Their eye location allows them to have peripheral eye vision. This kind of vision will enable them to see at an angle.

Overall, their vision is moderate, but they do not rely heavily on their eyes. According to scientists, elephants rely more on their sense of touch to move around. In fact, some records state that if an elephant is blind, it can still be the matriarch of the herd despite their lack of vision. 


Elephants have a fantastic sense of touch, thanks to their trunk. These large mammals use their trunks as a way to interact with the world. They use it to communicate, show affection to offspring, play, show aggression and defense. 

With such a sensitive touch in their trunk, elephant sense receptors allow them to feel even the slightest things. Elephants are capable of having an extraordinary sense of touch because of the cells called Pacinian corpuscles. Not only do they have these cells in their trunk, but also on the soles of their feet. 

Having Pacinian corpuscles on their feet allows them to feel the low rumbles of other elephants and even the earth moving. 


Beyond their touch, elephants also have a fantastic hearing. An African elephant ears capable of detecting low frequencies of five to 16 Hz and high frequencies of 12,000 to 16,000 Hz. 

Being able to hear low frequencies allows them to hear far sounds because lower rates travel farther. This ability gives elephants the advantage of communicating with each other in distances as far as 2.5 miles. 

Elephants also have the capability of distinguishing between human languages, gender and ethnicities. According to a study, African elephant ears can hear the difference in language between tribes to know which ones to avoid. 


Not only does an elephant’s trunk give elephants a fantastic sense of touch, but it is also a tremendous sense of smell. Elephant nostrils are located at the tip of its trunk. They use their sense of smell to find their next meal, water and avoid danger. 

Elephants use their sense of smell to distinguish between similar smelling foods and even smell TNT to avoid mines. On top of that, they can smell where water is located. This ability allows them to find underground water when there are droughts. 

On top of that, they use their high sense of smell to avoid danger. According to scientists, elephants can distinguish the scent of two Keyan tribes. Elephants use these clues to avoid a specific Kenya tribe that traditionally would spear them. 

Elephants are capable of amazing things! To keep these animals alive for future generations, we need to protect them with conservation efforts. At For Elephants, we’re using research, education and inspiration to help save the world’s largest animals. You can help our conservation research with a donation or purchasing a t-shirt

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