Elephants feet are surprisingly complex yet rather endearing and remarkably graceful. Take a look at the anatomy of an elephant’s foot; it’s formed in such a way that these gentle giants walk on the very tips of their five toes. Asian elephants have one more toenail per foot than the African species, five on the front feet and four on the back; not all of the toes have nails! Tough, fatty tissue makes up the soles of the feet that act as shock absorbers; their spongy feet mean that they walk almost silently and have the ability to creep up on people unawares; just one of their many super-hero traits.
The gestation period for a baby elephant is so long that their toenails grow over the soles of their feet.
This was a picture of one of Haven’s feet when he was first born; the nails are wrapped protectively around his feet.
Over the first few weeks, a baby begins to ‘find his feet’ and starts running around; naturally, the toenails will wear away. Haven took to chasing chickens and Maew whilst he wore his down!
The foot of an elephant is approximately half the width of its shoulder. Scientists can anticipate the size of the elephant standing right behind them by the size of their footprints. Elephants can detect deep-pitched sounds that vibrate through the ground.