How Does an Elephant Use Its Trunk?
An elephant’s trunk is its nose, its hand and its hose. The trunk is about six feet long, it contains 100,000 different muscles units but six major muscle groups, and it can weigh up to 140 kilograms.
An elephant is able to breathe and smell with its trunk, because the trunk has nostrils. The trunk is like a fifth limb to an elephant and helps it to perform many tasks, the most vital being to gather food.
As a hand, an elephant’s trunk carries food to its mouth. Sensitive “fingers” at the tip can pick up something as small as a peanut. The trunk is composed of nose and upper lip and is ideally suited for stripping a branch of leaves and transferring them to the mouth.
An elephant drinks by sucking water into its trunk, then squirting the water into its mouth. Sometimes it cools off by spraying water over its back. Young elephants take a year to learn how to use their trunk and before this they must drink through their mouths by lowering their heads to water level. Young bull elephants use their trunks to wrestle with each other.
With its trunk, an elephant can pull down a tree, caress a mate, or swat a baby elephant’s behind. They also use them to greet and touch each other. Elephants also use their trunks to help nudge babies over an obstacle or rescue an elephant stuck in the mud.