Elephant Dung 101

Karissa with elephant dung

So….you’ve always wondered what elephant poop looks like? Here’s your chance. 

We often request photos and videos from the caregivers so we can share our girls with all of you. There is a lot that needs to be done in a day, so getting nice photos is definitely a conscious and extra effort on everyone’s part. This morning when I mentioned needing pictures to catch up on Instagram, Karissa sent this one and asked, ‘How about this?’ And because we all have an off sense of humor, we thought- perfect.

The lesson of the day (so we can count this as a teaching moment)- Asian dung is much nicer than African dung. Healthy Asian elephant dung forms nice little cannonballs that are made up mostly of grass or hay. They even smell somewhat nice. As people who have worked around elephants for many years, yes, on occasion, we will pick them up with our hands. Yep, we’re a little gross.

African elephant dung is much looser and not something we would pick up. It’s more like a cow pattie. And continuing on the ‘gross’ note we are already on, captive African elephants will throw it on themselves when they are hot- usually only when they’re in the barn. But they will get it on the walls, ceiling and anywhere else you can possibly imagine. We used to refer to them as poop parties.

Now you know.

July 27, 2019



  1. REPLY
    alana says

    Thanks, I’ll use this new info to dazzle my friends with how knowledgeable I am, & as a conversation starter at parties. 🙂

  2. REPLY
    Terry says

    In Thailand, where I did some volunteering with Elephants, there was a village which made paper from the elephant poo. We shoveled it, and also got our hands dirty! We also used it as an excellent fertilizer! To me, it really did not have a smell.

  3. REPLY
    Maggie says

    Well that’s good to know. Those cannon balls sure are big!!!!

  4. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Have you heard of Dung Beetles? These bugs scoop up elephant dung and roll it!!
    There is a pop group here where I live and the call themselves The Dung Beatles and sing all Beatle songs!!
    They are fabulous. Have a rolling good time.

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      Yep, we have several different species here who love both the elephant and tapir dung. 🙂

  5. REPLY
    Carey says

    What do you do with the dung?

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      We have a compost pile. It breaks down quickly in the habitat because other animals pick it apart to eat the undigested seeds and grain. When placed in a compost pile it breaks down quickly as well. We use the compost for our garden up top that grows elephant produce.

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