What comes to your head when you think of the largest animal of our planet? There is no predator strong enough to challenge this mighty animal. Even baby elephants weigh 120 kgs (260 lbs) at birth.
One of the smartest animal on the planet, elephants are knows for their skills with which they use tools. Some elephants, when trained, can use a paintbrush and paint pictures better than art zeros like me. They are also one of the only animals on the planet to have mirror self recognition skills.
Such an amazing animal but do you know how elephants die? To understand that, you need to understand how they eat their food. Did you know, 60% of all the food that an elephant eats lives its body undigested. An adult elephant can easily consume anywhere between 140 to 270 kgs (300-600 lbs) a day. Their diet consists of leaves, bamboo, twigs, tree branches, etc. To crush this food, elephants use molars (their set of teeth at the back of their mouth). Elephants, unlike other mammals, do not grow baby teeth which mature into permanent teeth. They have cycles of tooth rotation through out their life. Think of molar as a conveyor belt which crushes everything on the back of elephants tongue.
The elephant molars wear down with use and the remains fall out. When an elephant becomes very old, the last set of teeth is worn to stumps, and it must rely on softer foods to chew. Very elderly elephants often spend their last years exclusively in marshy areas where they can feed on soft wet grasses. Eventually, when the last teeth fall out, the elephant is unable to eat and dies of starvation.
I was shocked to learn this about elephants but thats how mother nature manages life on this planet. How else would an animal so huge (known to take down rhinos, known to have no natural predators) die? Another great lesson from mother nature which, like always, does not fail to impress.
I clicked this picture with my Nikon point and shoot camera at the Singapore Zoo on my most recent visit. I am hoping to learn photography and eventually move on to a DSLR camera and have much more control on the photo's elements. Please feel free to leave a comment or tips if you have any.
I love elephants. I hope we all can do our bit to save the elephants.