Do Elephants Eat Coconuts? (Explained)

Do elephants eat coconuts? Elephants rarely encounter coconuts in the wild because they grow on the head of tall trees. An elephant, however, will eat green coconuts that fall from the tree if they come across them because the ripe coconuts lose their natural softness, thus making it hard for the elephant to chew.

I recently saw a video where an elephant broke open a coconut and picked up pieces of it with its trunk.

The elephant then ate the pieces of coconut under the watchful eye of the mahout. It never crossed my mind that elephants eat coconuts but here we are!

elephant calf eating coconut and tourists riding elephant 08102022

Can elephants eat coconuts?

While living in the wild, elephants rarely come across coconuts as they grow on the head of tall trees.

However, if a ripe coconut falls from the tree and an elephant comes across the fruit, it will try to eat it.

This is because elephants are curious about nature, and being herbivorous, they eat different types of fruits, vegetables, and foliage. Therefore, a coconut is a rare delicacy for elephants in the wild.

Are coconuts healthy for elephants?

When you think of the elephants that are kept in captivity, you first must understand that they must be given proper nutrition to have a robust immune system and strong bones.

Hence, certain unusual fruits like coconuts are also given along with several fruits and vegetables.

You will find that the flesh is removed from the shell of the coconut before being given to the elephant.

Do elephants eat coconut leaves?

Elephants that are bred in captivity are usually given palm or bamboo leaves as fodder whenever it’s available. This is because coconut leaves are stiff and not suitable for pachyderms.

Nevertheless, in the wild, elephants are known to eat young coconut plants and shoots.

The tender young coconut plant is no match for the strength of an elephant’s trunk. It can pull out the entire plant from its roots and eat it.

Can elephants drink coconut water?

Just like food, elephants must consume several liters of water daily to remain healthy and hydrated.

Sometimes in places like Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Thailand, where summers can be sweltering and lead to drought conditions, elephants are given coconut water to ensure that they remain hydrated.

Thus, elephants can drink coconut water, especially when there is a crisis of normal water.

Is there a particular way that elephants eat coconuts?

Yes, elephants must first break the fruit before they can eat it. If take a look at the video below, you will find that even baby elephants are curious about coconuts.

Video credits: Samui Elephant Haven

Then, the adult elephants break open the coconuts to eat the flesh inside. They can even consume the smaller pieces of the fruit along with the outer coating.

Are elephants that are bred in captivity given coconuts as a part of their diet?

Coconuts are not a normal part of an elephant’s diet. However, you will sometimes see coconuts in the elephant pen.

The primary reason is that elephants love coconuts; if they feel hungry, they can break open the fruit and eat it.

Unfortunately, elephants are voracious eaters, and it can be challenging to keep them satiated.

Coconuts can prove to be an excellent food item to keep them satiated for a more extended period.

Are there any parts of the coconut that an elephant prefers to eat?

Elephants prefer to eat the seedlings, shoots, and young leaves of the coconut plant. However, when it comes to eating fruit, it likes to eat young coconuts.

This is because the green coconuts are easier to crush, and the flesh is soft and tender.

However, if the coconut becomes ripe, the outer shell becomes complicated, and the flesh loses its natural softness.

As a result, the elephant might not like the taste, and it will become too hard to chew.

What is the nutritional content of coconuts that makes them suitable for elephants?

Coconuts are rich in sodium, potassium, and carbohydrates, essential to help an elephant build a robust immune system. Hence, sometimes elephants are given coconuts to supplement their diet.

Can coconut leaves be used to make bedding for elephants?

Yes, coconut leaves are often used to make bedding for elephants that are kept in zoos.

Once baby elephants are born, they are often kept with the mother in secluded parts of the zoo, and the floor often has bedding made of coconut leaves.

So dried coconut leaves and husks are suitable bedding materials.

Are you interested in learning more about the animals that eat coconuts? Check out that article for more information.

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