Why Elephants have Trunks

An elephant’s trunk is truly amazing. The trunk is the elephants nose and upper lip combined. It actually has two nostrils running all the way through it and has a flap at the end which look like a lip. An elephants trunk is so important that if it is damaged or they did not have one, they would not be able to survival.

The main feature of the trunk is obviously, the sense of smell. The use their trunks to smell out danger. An elephant can smell out a tiger or lion. They would then use their trunk to signal to others that there is danger. Their sense of smell helps them remain with the herd and it also helps them to source food and water.

The trunk also helps the elephant to get to the food it needs. Elephants live on, what we call, a vegetarian diet. As we know some trees are very tall and the only way for them to get the food they need form the tree,is to reach with their trunks. The trunk is very powerful and can easily take down branches of leaves. This is why the Asian Elephant, for thousands of years, has been domesticated, because they are able to carry timber logs at half their weight.

An elephants trunk is also used to communicate. Elephants greet each other by touching trunks. In fact when a female is giving birth it is a very excitable moment for the herd and all the females will gather round to greet the calf and they do that by touching trunks. There are 160 different signs that an elephant uses almost daily.

The trunk can also be used to help cool them down. Sure the ears are the main part of the elephant that keeps them cool, but when they are at the water hole, they fill their trunks up with water and are able to spray themselves.

The flap or lip as I call it, at the end of the trunk acts like our fingers do. It is able to pick up little things and move them.

A calf is born with the trunk down and the mother teaches it how to control the different muscles in it when the calf is about 4months old. In the same way as we teach our children how to walk and talk.

So an elephants trunk is actually highly important to them. They have one, because without it, they would not be able to smell out danger, water, food or their own herd and they would not be able to reach for food or communicate with others.