It is not often that one gets the opportunity to get right down on the ground close to an elephant to get photos of him eating and going about his daily routine. This was one of the things I really enjoyed at Addo Elephant Back Safaris last weekend.
Because they are herbivores (vegetarians), and thus only eat plants. Imagine if the were carnivores. What would it look like when elephants hunt? Anyway, they eat anything from grass and leaves to roots and bark. In this case this particular one was eating Acacia Karoo or Sweet Thorn. You can see the thorns on the piece in his mouth.
Elephants are referred to as very destructive feeders. This isn't just because of the quantity that they eat, but also because the would tear down whole young trees just to eat the leaves or get to the roots. The other thing is that they have very bad digestive systems. They only digest about 60% of their food. If you look at the pic above, the little mushrooms are growing in elephant dung. It looks like dead grass, which proofs the point. Pity I couldn't get the focus right, but the elephants were coming and I was in the way. I wasn't about to be stepped on by a 3.5 ton animal to get the perfect photo.