A Wildlife Article from All-Creatures.org






Secrets of the Elephant Trunk

From Catherine Doyle, M.S., PAWS Performing Animal Welfare Society
July 2022

The elephantís trunk is used to breathe, suck up water and transfer it to the mouth to drink, bathe, smell, toss dust or mud onto themselves, socialize, call, explore, and rub their eyes and scratch their heads.

African Elephants
African Elephants Mara and Thika

As Director of Science, Research and Advocacy for PAWS, I have been conducting ongoing behavioral observations of the African elephants at our ARK 2000 sanctuary.

During a recent round of observations, I took extra notice of the ways the elephants use their trunks, those amazing appendages that serve a multitude of functions.

The elephantís trunk is used to breathe, suck up water and transfer it to the mouth to drink, bathe, smell, toss dust or mud onto themselves, socialize, call, explore, and rub their eyes and scratch their heads.

Just like people are left or right-handed, elephants may have a preference for the way they rotate the trunk to gather or grab vegetation and the side of the mouth where they place their food.

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