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The Elephant: A Grass-Guzzling Digestive System Phenomena - Yellow Magpie



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Published on October 21st, 2010 | by Yellow Magpie

3

The Elephant: A Grass-Guzzling Digestive System Phenomena

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An immense shadow, lumbers noisily towards a large tree. The shadow loads unto its rear legs and hoists its massive body skywards. A huge, powerful, robot-like appendage grapples the trunk of the tree, twisting and tearing apart the the considerably large branches. When the shadow moves on the tree is significantly smaller.

The shadow? An elephant.

Exotic beasts, our familiarity with elephants often obscures just how unique these animals truly are.
From their long tubular appendages we have named trunks, to their ears, which can be larger than an adult human, elephants are truly unique creatures.

African Elephant

Methane Producing Factory

The elephant’s digestive system is one of the key reasons why the animal is such a large size as it produces over 2,000 litres of methane on a daily basis. To put this in context this is enough to fill a larger-than-average home heating oil tank.

Lean Animals

Contrary, to the impression that you might obtain from a casual glance of their wide appearances, elephants are very lean animals. Their large girth is not fat tissue but rather the guts of their enormous digestive organs. They need large guts to process the incredible amounts of food that they eat every day which can exceed 200 kilogrammes (440 lbs) of vegetation daily.

This colossal amount of food helps to sustain their huge size, the elephant is the largest living land animal sometimes weighing in excess of ten tonnes.

Elephant Crushing A Water Melon For Food

Muscle Support

To support the vast weight of their internal organs, elephants have several layers of muscles which run in alternative directions to give the abdominal wall maximum support. The large intestines can be over 50 centimetres (20 inches) in diameter. The reason why elephants have such enormous guts is because of the nature of their diet.

Borneo Elephant

Voracious Diet

Unlike the Giraffe, an elephant isn’t choosy about what it eats. At up to ten tonnes, its huge size means that it cannot afford to ignore sources of food. As a result, elephants will eat almost any plant and shrub.

After passing through the elephant’s stomach, the energy from food that is relatively easy to digest will be absorbed through the small intestine. The rest then goes on a long journey through its large intestines as it maximises its energy absorption.

Vital Statistics

  • Elephants can be as tall as 4.26 metres (14 feet) although the Asia species are much smaller than their African cousins.
  • They can weigh as much as ten tonnes.
  • Elephants are found in Africa and parts of Asia.
  • They can live nearly as long as humans with some living up to 80 years.

 

Highly Recommended Get The Book Through Amazon

Check out Yellow Magpie’s Elephants: PTSD And Killing People,  Elephants: A Remarkably Human Animal and Elephants: Why They Are So Smart for further insight into this amazing animal.

Elephant Memories: Thirteen Years in the Life of an Elephant Family by Cynthia Moss is a thrilling and eye-opening read. Full of wonderful insight and knowledge that can only be gleaned from hands-on experience, Elephant Memoirs is one of the better books on the subject.

You can obtain Elephant Memories here from Amazon.

Amazon.co.uk
For people living in Ireland or the United Kingdom you can access Elephant Memories here.

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For those living in Canada you can obtain Elephant Memories from here.

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For Germany: Elephant Memories.

Amazon.fr
For France: Elephant Memories.


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