Intestinal tract length of elephants

Source: European Journal of Wildlife Research
The digestive tract of elephants is surprisingly short compared to other herbivorous mammals. However, measurements relating the length of the intestine to the body mass of the respective individual are rare. In this study, we report such data for an African elephant and an Asian elephant.
Our data support the hypothesis that Asian elephants have a longer intestinal tract than their African counterparts. These findings are in accord with the observation of longer retention times and higher digestion coefficients in Asian as compared to African elephants. This difference between the species could be the reflection of slightly different ecological niches, with Asian elephants adapted to a natural diet with a higher proportion of grass.

Observations on the length of the intestinal tract of African (Loxodonta Africana) and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus)

Clauss, M; Steinmetz, H; Eulenberger, U; Ossent, P; Zingg, R; Hummel, J; Hatt, JM

European Journal of Wildlife Research, Volume 53, Number 1, 2007