I recently travelled to Thailand for a few weeks and I got to spend the day with elephants at an elephant sanctuary. We learned how the elephants are cared for, what they eat and how much. As well we even got to even feed and bathe them in a nearby river. They are such beautiful, gentle giants. It was such an amazing day!
Here are a few fun facts about Asian Elephants:
- Asian elephants can weigh as much as 5 tonnes.
- They are smaller than African elephants and Asian elephants have smaller ears. Their ears are in constant motion, this allows to keep the elephants cool.
- An elephant uses its trunk for smelling, breathing, drinking and grabbing things such as their food. An elephant’s trunk contains about 100,000 different muscles.
- Elephants go through six sets of teeth in their life, as other mammals only have two.
- Elephants spend much of their day eating. They eat grasses, roots, leaves, bark, and fruit.
When I was at the sanctuary, we were given a large basket filled with fruits to feed the elephants. You would take the piece of fruit in your hand and then they would use their trunk to take the piece of fruit from you. It was so amazing to watch, they love their food! I was able to feed the Elephants bananas, yams, and watermelon. We also made them protein cookies. These were filled with grasses, bananas, and a special powder filled with extra vitamins and supplements that the elephants need. They loved these, and we got to hand make them and then feed them to the elephants. So we even got to get our own hands dirty.
As you can imagine they eat a lot of food, this requires much prep work for the food that the elephants eat. Including gathering the food, and washing it. They have a system for washing the fruits before the elephants eat them. The fruit is first put in a solution with extra vitamins, the fruits soak for 20 minutes and then are rinsed in clean water. The undamaged fruits are collected and put into piles. We got to have a share in this process as well. Feeding them was amazing, you truly see that yes they need and eat so much food!
Spending the day with the elephants was unforgettable. You really got to see their different personalities. They are incredible animals and it was so amazing to be able to learn so much about them and really have a hands-on experience with the elephants. A day that I will remember and cherish forever!
Written by Madison Vandenberg, ACA