Tall Trunk Tales

July 24, 2017

Grey and gentle, big and bold, trunk in the front and tail in the back… These are but some of the adjectives used to describe Loxodonta africana, the biggest land mammal and one of Africa’s most iconic animals. The Klaserie Private Nature Reserve teems with these heavies that affords ample opportunity to observe them at close courters.

Even though their scientific name stems from the Greek words loxos meaning ‘slanting’/’crosswise’ and odont ‘tooth’, an elephant’s trunk can just as well be classified as probably one of the most amazing body parts in the animal kingdom. It is attached to this massive body but it almost acts as independent creature that fascinates all and sundry.

Here are ten interesting elephant trunk facts:

An elephant uses its trunk for breathing, smelling, touching, grasping and producing sound.

The African elephant has two “fingers” which enables the animal to grasp objects.

There are over 40 000 muscles in an elephant’s trunk compared to about 639 in the whole of the human body.

With that amount of muscles, an elephant can lift up to 350kg.

Though it does partly consist of the nose, there is no skeletal structure in the trunk of an elephant.

An elephant can soak up to 8 litres of water through the two nostrils in its trunk and then blow it into its mouth.

A baby elephant’s trunk is relatively short after birth and only stretches a few days later.

The trunk also serves as an indicator for the mood of an elephant.

The trunk can be used as a punching or thrusting weapon.

The trunk is an important means of communication.



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