Baby elephants are one of the cutest animals in the world with their big ears and clumsy movements. However, there is one behavior that may surprise many people: baby elephants have been known to eat poo. While this behavior may be shocking to some, there is actually a fascinating reason behind it.
The behavior of eating poo, or coprophagy, is common in many different animal species. In the case of baby elephants, they consume the feces of their mothers or other adult elephants in order to obtain important nutrients that they cannot get from their regular diet.
Elephant faeces is composed of 75% water. The remaining 25% is made up of (in approximately equal parts) indigestible fibres that help the faeces through the digestive system, dead bacteria and also salts, dead cells, mucus and live bacteria. This live bacteria are what the baby elephants need to build up their own digestive systems as well as strengthen their immune systems.
Elephants have a unique digestive system that is not very efficient at breaking down plant matter. As a result, they are unable to absorb all of the nutrients that they need from their food. However, when elephants consume their own feces or the feces of other elephants, they are able to obtain additional nutrients that were not absorbed during the initial digestion process.

In addition to providing important nutrients, eating feces also helps baby elephants establish a healthy gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that play a crucial role in digestion and overall health. By consuming the feces of adult elephants, baby elephants are able to acquire the same beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that are essential for a healthy gut.
While the thought of eating poo may seem disgusting to humans, it is a necessary behavior for baby elephants in the wild. In captivity, however, they are provided with a specialized formula that contains all of the necessary nutrients, eliminating the need for them to consume.
In conclusion, the behavior of baby elephants eating poo may seem shocking to some, but it is a necessary part of their diet and overall health. It is just one of the many fascinating and unique behaviors that make elephants such amazing animals.

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