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EleFact Friday: A Quick Q&A

For this week’s EleFact Friday, we’re reaching into our grab bag of reader questions that might not be enough for posts on their own. This way, people can have their questions answered in a quick and easy way. 

Question 1: Is there something that makes them angry or can they get angry with each other?

Answer: We’re sure that there are things that can make elephants angry, though they haven’t expressed outright anger here at this sanctuary. We’ve seen moments of frustration, but the great part of having vast space is that it gives the elephants the ability to walk away if they want to leave a situation. That can diffuse situations fairly quickly. 

Question 2: How much does a trunk weigh?

Answer: Elephant trunks vary in length, which can impact their weight. However, an elephant trunk can weigh approximately 140 kg (over 300 pounds). 

Question 3: Do the bars get hot and hurt their trunks?

Answer: The bars that are part of the protected contact approach that we use are steel. Steel can get hot in the sun, but there are also plenty of shady spots where we can do treatments and check-ups. An elephant’s inner thermostat for heat is different from humans, and we wouldn’t ask them to perform any behaviors against bars that are excessively hot. As you’d imagine, if the bars got too hot, they wouldn’t put their trunks or other body parts on them. 

Question 4: Are elephant feet ticklish?

Answer: The work that we do on elephant feet can be intensive and includes trimming of pads, cuticles, and nails. Those aren’t exactly activities that would cause an elephant to get tickled. As far as we can tell, elephants don’t show that sort of sensitivity on their pads, even under the gentlest of circumstances, at least not what we’ve seen. 

Question 5: What happens if an elephant gets a foot condition in the wild?

Answer: It would be highly unlikely to see an elephant foot like Lady’s in the wild. What she suffers from now is a direct result of keeping elephants in small spaces and negligence on the part of humans. In the wild, pads and nails wear down as the elephant walks, so that prevents a need for trimming. Elephants also wear down their nails through walking and by digging up roots and plants. It’s a wonderful self-maintaining system.

Question 6: Does Guillermina ever visit her mother’s grave?

Answer: Pocha died and was buried in Yard 3, which is near the barn. The barn was a special place to Pocha and Guillermina when they first arrived and were learning how big the world really is. Guillermina and the rest of the girls have all visited Yard 3 since Pocha’s passing and we haven’t seen anything that humans would consider mourning behaviors. However, we have no way of knowing if they’re communicating with one another in their elephant way. 

Keep the questions coming, everyone. Hopefully we’ll be able to address more of your inquiries in future EleFact Fridays. In the meantime, you can read up on past EleFacts here.

Photo of Mara with Rana eating hay behind her

Comments(4)

  1. REPLY
    Carey says

    Thank you!

  2. REPLY
    Charlotte Hansen says

    Thank you! This is great!

  3. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Very interesting things I’ve learned i never knew before its so much fun to get even more knowledge on these beautiful gentle giants. I still can’t get over an elephants trunk weighing 300 pounds? That’s alot of weight to carry around for sure! Thank you and looking forward to the next Q&A! Love and hugs to all 💞

  4. REPLY
    Terry says

    300lbs! Incredible! Great learning!

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