Animal Diaries Archive
25 April 2008
Weighing in at close to four tonne (4000 kg) elephants have really BIG appetites and therefore consume large quantities of food every day (150kg to be exact). Here at the Zoo we feed our elephants approximately 15 - 20 times a day. Elephants don’t have the best digestive systems and due to a slow metabolism have to eat lots of food to get maximum nutrients. A typical meal for our elephants consists of oaten/barley hay, a small amount of lucerne, a variety of tree species such as fig, sugarcane, banana and palm and of course fruit and vegetables.
In the wild Asian Elephants are grazers rather than browsers like their African cousins, therefore they don't rely as heavily on really large tusks to dig up tree roots/bark or to search for water. In fact female Asian Elephants have small tusks known as tushes that don’t grow very big at all, whereas male Asian Elephants have large tusks which can sometimes be six feet long! Male elephants use their tusks for fighting other males in order to establish breeding rights with all the females.