The proboscis or trunk of an elephant is one of the wonders of nature! It is a fusion of nose and upper lip which is strong yet sensitive. Using its trunk, an elephant can pull down a tree and also pick up a blade of grass. It can rub its eye or scratch its ears. An elephant cannot survive longer without its trunk.
The main use of the trunk is for breathing. Sometimes it also breaths through its mouth. Just like us. Elephant has a keen sense of smell. It literally smells danger. It uses its trunk to smell an enemy around. May be a lion or a curious wild life photographer! It also uses its trunk to locate other herds.
Elephant eats using finger like projections at the tip of its trunk. It’s diet includes grass, leaves, fruits, shoot etc. A fully grown male eats more than 200 kg of food in a day! It uses its trunk to pick up, pluck, strip and to finally put the food into its mouth.
Elephant drinks using its trunk. A fully grown elephant drinks nearly 200 liters of water. It sucks water using its trunk and then puts it into its mouth and then swallows. Just like how it takes its food. An adult elephant’s trunk can hold 14 liters of water!
It is fascinating to watch elephant in a pond. Children love the sight of elephants “taking bath”. Elephant sprays itself using its trunk to keep its huge body cool. It also sprays itself with dust after its dip in the pond. It acts like a coat which keeps away irritating ticks and flies.
If we observe a herd of elephants, we can see that the cub is guided by its elders. This is another use of its trunk. It guides the young ones using its trunk, sometimes picking them up when they fall. It is also observed that the cubs are punished sometimes! It is a recorded fact that mother elephant sometimes wallops its baby to bring in discipline, just like human beings! Amazing isn’t it? It also uses its trunk to greet its friends by entwining its trunk with that of its friend. Just like our handshake. Elephants also defend itself using its trunk by flailing at unwanted intruders like lion or by grasping and throwing them away.
Elephant rests its versatile appendage on its tusk sometimes. After all that work it definitely needs some rest.