AnimalsWild Animals

What Do Elephants Eat and Drink In The Wild?

What Do Wild Elephants Eat?


Elephants are herbivorous or plant-eating animals that mainly consume grass, leaves, fruits, and tree bark in their natural habitat. They eat a variety of foods depending on the season and availability of food. New growth and fruits are available to elephants in the rainy season. But, during the dry season, their options are limited to woody plants and tree bark. Also, they may travel long distances to find water. The digestive system of elephants allows them to get the most nutrients out of their food. The purpose of this system is to support the large bodies and high energy requirements of elephants. They also require access to water for drinking and bathing.

What Do Elephants Eat In The Wild?

Elephants, the largest terrestrial animal on the planet, have a particular diet. The breakdown of what elephants consume in the wild is as follows:



Elephants spend a lot of time browsing grasses and herbs. Grass provides them with nutrition, fiber, and energy. Elephants consume large quantities of grass, which they access and break with their trunks and feet. They love to eat grass and graze on them when they’re readily available. As they adapt to their local environment, they eat grass from different species. They choose young, nutrient and water-rich greens in season. When grass isn’t available during certain seasons, elephants migrate to find food.

Fruits and Vegetables

Elephants tend to have a sweet tooth and like to eat vegetables like pumpkins, carrots, and even sweet potatoes. In fruits, they like mangoes, bananas, berries, and apples. These items give their bodies the vitamins and minerals they require for effective digestive systems.

Roots and Bulbs

Elephants eat many plant materials like roots and bulbs in the wild. Because of their fantastic smell, elephants may find roots and bulbs buried far beneath the surface. Elephants have adapted to rely on roots and bulbs for essential nutrients in certain regions. Their diet includes tubers from water lilies, wild ginger, and underground parts of trees such as baobabs and acacias. These foods provide elephants with carbohydrates, minerals, and moisture, making them energy and hydration-rich, especially during dry seasons.

Leaves and Branches

Elephants have a reputation for being browsers; they eat various leaves and branches from trees and bushes. Leaves and branches are a significant part of their diet, and they provide them with essential carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals that can be found in plants. They utilize their tusks and trunks to remove the leaves to reach the high units. With their elongated trunks and strong tusks, elephants can easily access and consume leaves and branches from trees.

Bark and Twigs

Elephants rely on bark and twigs to meet their energy and nutrition needs when grass and other sources of food are scarce. They may break the bark off trees and obtain the nutrients inside due to their powerful jaws and teeth.

Also Read: Essay on Elephant.

What Elephants Don’t Eat In The Wild?

Elephants are known for their massive appetite. However, there are some foods that elephants in the wild don’t consume:

  • Inorganic substances: Elephants don’t eat inorganic materials like plastic or metal. Still, due to human activities like littering, elephants may unintentionally consume these toxic substances, which can cause serious health problems and even death.
  • Artificial food: Elephants in the wild don’t consume artificial or prepared food. They acquire all of their nutrients from natural vegetation.
  • Dry grass: Elephants favor eating young, vibrantly green foliage. They stay away from dry, yellow grass because it contains fewer nutrients.
  • Certain tree species: There are phenols and tannins in higher wood-density trees, which elephants usually avoid. Elephants avoid these trees because they possess substances that are not good for them and have a bitter taste.
  • Poisonous plants: Elephants are intelligent creatures that distinguish between edible and harmful plants. They avoid consuming poisonous plants since doing so could hurt them.
  • Meat: Because they are herbivores, elephants do not eat meat. They favor consuming various plant materials, including grasses, leaves, and fruits.

What Do Wild Elephants Drink?

Elephants in the wild drink water to stay hydrated throughout the day. Elephants are herbivores and eat mostly plants. They, therefore, need a lot of water to digest their diet fully. The following details their drinking habits in further detail:

  • Elephants must consume a lot of water each day to keep their bodies functioning normally. An adult elephant will typically drink up to 50 gallons of water every day.
  • Water for wild elephants comes from lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and other natural bodies.
  • They collect water from these sources with their trunks and then pour it into their mouths to consume. An elephant’s trunk is a multipurpose tool used for various functions, including breathing, sniffing, and communication.
  • Elephants can travel vast distances in search of water throughout the dry season whenever water sources become hard to find. They can smell water sources several miles away, utilizing their sense of smell.
  • Elephants are regarded as having a quick recall and a long-term memory for where water sources exist. They can survive in their complex and dry environments due to their ability to recall water sources.

Also Read: World Elephant Day: History and Celebrations.


Elephants are herbivores in the wild. Therefore, grasses, leaves, bark, and fruits comprise most of their diet. Due to their large bodies, elephants consume a large amount of food and water each day. Elephants can travel great distances for food and water, and the flora they ingest might vary according to the season and region. Elephants also need a lot of water to stay hydrated, and they drink a lot from rivers, lakes, and ponds. Overall, through their diet and eating patterns, elephants play a unique and significant role in preserving their habitats.

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