How do Elephants Drink Water? | Interesting Elephant Facts

Water is the main source of life on earth as all living things need water to survive. Animals such as elephants tend to get water from the wild. Elephants are the world’s largest land mammals that are characterized by their gigantic size and long trunks. Seeing their trunks definitely, makes us wonder about how they drink water with such big trunks?

Their long trunks are not just a mesmerizing sight to see; rather, it helps them drink, hold, bath, and greet fellow elephants. Not just that, the adult elephant’s trunk grows up to two meters in length and can lift weight up to 350 kilograms. This shows how fascinating these elephants are.

How Much Water Do Elephants Drink a Day?

How do Elephants Drink Water

To supplement their huge size, elephants tend to drink tons of water daily. An elephant can drink up to fifty gallons or 200 liters of water daily. (Equal to the amount of water in the bathtub) An adult male elephant can consume up to 55 gallons or 212 liters of water daily, which takes about five minutes to accomplish. Interestingly, their trunk can accommodate 2.5 gallons of water in a single go.

The normal intake of adult elephants should be up to 200 liters. However, if an elephant is consuming water above the normal range, it might indicate that something is wrong and the elephant should be medically observed. Elephants suffering from TBC conditions might consume up to 600 liters a day.

How Do Elephants Use Their Trunks For Drinking Water?

How do Elephants Drink Water

As opposed to older beliefs, elephants cannot drink water directly from their trunks like a straw; rather they use their trunk as a tool to suck water from the ground and spray it like a hose in their mouth to drink water.

Elephants are cleanliness-loving animals that drink clean filtered water. Often, elephants use their trunk to blow dirt off the water surface before drinking. They also dig up small holes near the water source to filter out the water and clean it.

When it comes to baby elephants or calves, they can’t drink water with the help of their trunks. They have not yet mastered controlling their trunks; therefore, they rely on drinking water directly from their mouths by kneeling on the ground.

How Do Elephants Hold Water In Their Trunks?

How do Elephants Drink Water

Elephants’ trunk comprises over 100,000 muscles and tendons that support the trunk is holding tons of water. The elephant’s trunk is formed by the merging of the upper lip and nose. During drinking, elephants dilate their nostrils located in the trunk to create more space than 64% of the original size. This allows them to store up to nine liters of water in one go.

They suck up water in just three liters per second (equal to the amount of water coming out of 25 shower heads all at once) which is thirty times faster than the speed of human sneeze, which is about 150 meters per second.

How Do Baby Elephants Drink Water?

How do Elephants Drink Water

Baby elephants, also known as calves, are one of the most adorable little beings as they mimic their parents when it comes to feeding or drinking. When an elephant is newly born, it is unaware of the use of its trunk, much like other babies of animals. So it usually flaps it around and tries to learn to control it. 

Since baby elephants don’t know how to use their trunk for drinking water, they usually prostrate or kneel down on their knees to drink water directly from their mouths.

Baby elephants keep on trying until they finally learn to drink water through their trunks when they turn one year old.

How Do Elephants Find Water?

How do Elephants Drink Water

Elephants are intelligent creatures that can find water from multiple sources such as lakes, ponds, oases, underground, rivers, or trees. Under normal conditions, elephants drink water from lakes, ponds, and water holes.

Problems emerge during a dry climate or extreme weather conditions when water from the lakes or ponds dries up. In such a situation, elephants derive water from Baobab trees that can store up to one hundred thousand liters of water in their trunk.

Elephants break the bark of the Baobab trees and chew the flesh of the tree to retrieve water. Apart from that, elephants also dig up the ground to find water springs underneath the ground during drought. 

The elephants use their tusks to scrape away ground and dig deep in the hole until they find adequate water. In addition, elephants also obtain vital nutrients and minerals from the dug-up ground.

These water holes are used by other insects and small animals that feed upon them once the elephant leaves.

In addition, the elephants use the mud of water holes to spread over their skin as protection from the sun or insect bites.

How much Water Do They Consume With Age?

Elephants Drinking

Elephants are enormous beings that require plenty of water to survive. The amount of water consumed by elephants is:

                              Age                        Water Consumed
Young Elephant                50 gallons (200 liters)
Adult Elephant                  55 gallons (212 liters)

However, baby elephants rely more on feeding on their mother’s milk for up to two years of age. They can drink up to three gallons or 10 liters of milk a day. They continue nursing till they reach ten years of age.

How Many Days Can Elephants Stay Alive Without Water?

Elephants can stay alive without drinking water for up to four days. This ability allows them to migrate between large distances. When the need for water arises, elephants can dig up holes in the ground to find water or chew on Baobab trees. Usually, elephants stay near water sources to prevent dehydration.

Surprisingly elephants can smell water from about five kilometers away. During a warm climate, an elephant loses about 10% of water in a single day (equal to losing two bathtubs full of water at a time) Therefore, elephants need to stay near water sources or drink every two to three days to prevent dehydration.

Check Out Some Interesting Facts About Baby Elephants

Final Thoughts!!

Elephants are truly wonderful creatures that mesmerize human beings with their huge size. Elephants help human beings in transporting heavy loads between different places and are a religious symbol in some faiths. With their powerful trunks, the elephants can drink water and use it for various other purposes, making them one of the most intelligent and useful creatures on earth.

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