How much does an elephant eat?

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How much does an elephant eat?

The simple answer is 'rather a lot.' As a herbivore, an elephant will need to eat a lot of vegetation, especially as they cannot digest cellulose, which makes up a significant percentage of the bulk of vegetation.

The average elephant will eat up to a whopping 200kg of vegetation a day, much of which is grass, but will involve around 50 different plant species. This is a huge amount and takes up most of the waking day.

The reason for this massive volume is that plant matter is made up of cellulose, as mentioned before, but also water.

Meanwhile, cows will eat between 2.5% and 4.5% of their body weight of dried vegetation per day. With the ability to digest cellulose, the cow is well suited to a vegetation diet and can extract more nutrition from vegetable matter than the elephant can. A cow that is lactating (i.e. a milk cow) will increase this amount by 50%.

Cows spend much of their day eating.

Meanwhile, humans are advised to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. The reality is that for most people this ends up being a small portion of peas on their plate, maybe a solitary lettuce and an apple. It is nowhere near enough. When dieting, or eating healthily in general, humans need to massively increase their volume of vegetables. Fruits tend to be rather sugar-laden, so may not be ideal when attempting weight loss, but keeping fruit levels within the normal range may be useful.

But what is a normal range? Eat a couple of fresh oranges, an apple or two, maybe some strawberries and so on every day. An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a small bundle of fruit, and loads, and I mean LOADS of green vegetables will really help a lot.

Here's the thing. Cows and elephants are huge muscle laden animals. Muscle laden from eating nothing but large volumes of vegetation, that is, they are very rarely fat.

Feed them on pasta and cheese, then they will probably start getting very fat indeed.

So, dieters. Think like an elephant, think like a cow. Eat more vegetables, much, much more.  Allow vegetables to form the bulk of your meal, not starchy, stodgy nonsense that so many of us fill our bellies with.

There is an old adage that is so very true: pay your grocer, or pay your doctor.  The choice is yours.

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