Elephants sneak into stables and grab some horse feed at night

Elephants feed on horse feed in India

Elephants feed on horse feed in India. Screenshot.

This is somewhere in India; a place where they have interactions with wildlife that nearly all of us in the West can’t imagine in our wildest dreams. Imagine in the UK having horses stabled up for the night and two elephants bowl along and start to nick some of the horse feed from the trough! It looks like there is a large window or opening to the stables, below which there is a trough containing horse feed. The elephants might be frequent visitors at night for a quick supper. The horse backs off slightly in deference to the larger and wild animal but appears to be fairly settle about the incursion.

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The video tells us that horses and elephants have an overlapping diet. Elephants feed on:

  • Grasses
  • Leaves
  • Bamboo
  • Small plants
  • Bushes
  • Fruit
  • Twigs
  • Tree bark
  • Roots

Horses feed on:

  • Oats. Oats are the most popular grains for horses. They are very palatable and least likely to cause digestive upsets.
  • Maize or Corn
  • Barley.
  • Wheat.

I see no direct overlap in diet in these lists. However, clearly elephants find horse feed acceptable perhaps when they are having difficulties in finding their usual foods.

I am told that there is a similarity in the digestive systems of horses and elephants resulting in diets for elephants being based on equine feed digestibility studies. However, there are some important differences between horses and elephants. Elephants don’t digest feedstuff as efficiently as horses. Also, feed passes through the digestive tract faster in elephants compared to horses.

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