It is an interesting fact that “Elephants can “hear” with their feet”. Elephants may have massive ears, but they can also pick up on noises via their feet, which register low-frequency rumbles caused by other animals up to 20 miles away. They sense these underground vibrations through their feet.
Each elephant foot has 5 toes, but not every toe has a nail. The African forest elephant and the Asian elephant both have 5 toenails on the front feet and 4 on the back feet. Their feet are flat because of a large pad of gristle under each heel which acts as a shock absorber and helps them walk quietly. Their legs are much straighter than those of other animals and support their weight so well. Elephants spend most of their lives walking huge distances, and their feet are suitably adapted to such a lifestyle. Their bodies are made for walking, which they do many miles a day in the wild and it’s why they suffer from foot diseases and arthritis in zoos which keep elephants often find they develop foot problems due to a lack of constant walking.
At Elephant Nature Park, some of our rescued elephants have suffered injuries at their feet that would often go untreated in their previous lives, many of them spent their lives in the tourist and logging industry. With many different injuries such as landmines, broken limps and dislocated hips, our vets have a steady stream of patients who require medical assistance. Our vet team work with our elephants daily to reassure them that they are in a safe environment and they are receiving the good care.