The Elephant Trunk
The elephant trunk is the most versatile and important appendage of an elephant. An elephant trunk has and incredible 150,000 separate muscles and no bones. Among the many uses of the elephant trunk are breathing, touching, grasping and trumpeting. They also have an advanced sense of smell called olfaction. It is said that they have a 4 times better sense of smell than a bloodhound! As we will see in the elephant facts section, elephant eyesight is not very good so this sense of smell is incredibly important.
The elephant trunk and water
The elephant trunk comes in handy for getting those 60 gallons of water into them as part of their elephant diet. The trunk can hold over 2 gallons (8.5 litres) of water and that also comes in handy when it comes to taking a shower. Basically they carry their shower unit around with them.
You will see that they also spray themselves with dust and grass. This is partly to do with keeping cool but also part of their skin health treatment.
The elephant trunk has yet more amazing uses when it comes to operating in the water. They can use their trunks as a snorkel when wading through deep water. They also use it as a guide when walking along rocky river beds. Elephants are incredibly capable in the water.
At the end of the trunk is a finger-like appendage that they use to pick things up with. Interesting elephant facts time – African elephants have two and the Asian elephant only one!! Asian elephants are much more coordinated with their trunks than the African elephant. They do not rely quite so much therefore on the finger at the opening of the trunk.