After sharing an update and photos of Guillermina’s feet earlier this week, as well as providing details on their current condition and the care that she is receiving, we had quite a few supporters request photos of elephant feet that are considered to be healthy. It’s understandable to want to see comparison photos to understand the differences between Guille’s foot care journey and what some of the other sanctuary residents have achieved over time at ESB. For today’s EleFACT, we want to explain a bit more about healthy feet.
Part of regular foot care involves removing overgrowth of the nails to prevent cracking, splitting, or becoming infected. We make sure that there aren’t any spots that are causing too much pressure on the foot, which can also lead to abscesses and infections.
In the attached slideshow, you’ll see some photos of what healthy elephant feet look like. A foot in good condition should have grooves, since they act like sneaker treads for traction. A completely smooth foot pad is very dangerous on slick surfaces. And while there should be grooves, they shouldn’t have deep crevices where rocks and other small debris can get stuck, since that is often the source of pad abscesses. There should not be big spaces behind the nails where feces, dirt, and other things can get caught and then cause infections which travel in and upward. We hope that in time, with good, attentive care, and the ability to roam on natural earth, Guille’s feet can reach this level of health.
Please also keep in mind that, like everything else that is different between Asian and African elephants, their foot pads and feet cannot be directly compared.