Diet & Feeding

Food Items and Feeding Strategies


  • They are both browsers (feeding on shrubs and trees) and grazers (feeding on grass)
    • Can consume many species of plants, as well as twigs and bark but usually only a few plant taxa
    • 112 species of plants in a study in southern India, 400 species recorded in Malaysia
  • Choice of plants varies with seasons
    • Feed on mostly plants during dry season
    • Shift to grass in first part of wet season;
    • Return to browse feeding after heavy rains (when grass less nutritious).
  • Strategies for obtaining grass include:
    • Dislodge clumps with feet, gather a pile of grass, grab with trunk, smack against leg to knock off dirt, put in mouth when dirt-free
    • Wash clumps by moving back and forth with trunk in water
  • Usually do not feed for more than a few days in one place
    • Drink every day when available; stay close to a source of fresh water
    • Can ingest over 100 liters (26 gallons) at one time
    • Drink up to 225 liters (59 gallons) per day
    • If no water available, dig with forefeet and trunks for subsoil water; wallows created in this manner.
  • Anecdotal evidence reports elephants fond of alcohol; reports of raiding illicit liquor stores in the forest.
  • Adults eat approx. 150kg (330 lbs) daily; approximately 1.5 – 2% (dry weight) of body weight
  • Salt needed in diet; migrate to deposits regularly and excavate with tusks if necessary.


Nature Video Highlight

Elephant Country Film
Elephant Country Film
The Story of All of Us
The Story of All of Us
EleFun Facts - Elephant's love for Water
EleFun Facts - Elephant's love for Water
Back to Top

For the latest in the Eastern Himalayas

Latest Event