Animal Diaries Archive
Time for a manicure!
26 May 2006
As part of general husbandry procedures with our elephants, we regularly conduct foot inspections. This is done by asking our girls to present each foot on a stump for us. A foot inspection consists of firstly checking all over the sole (the bottom of an elephant's foot is a soft pad) and looking for any stones or other foreign objects that can get stuck in there. The second step is the inspection of their toenails. They have five on the front feet and four on the back. Regular toenail maintenance is essential for healthy feet. When we find it necessary to trim our girls' nails, we have special tools on hand that we use just for this purpose. A piece of old nail partly broken off would be removed with a pair of horse hoof trimmers. A nail that was a little overgrown would be brought back with a large file. A file is especially good for keeping smooth and rounded edges on the nails; that helps prevent a nail from developing any cracks.
For their co-operation, the elephants all get a big pat and a special treat at the end... oh, they are such pampered girls!