How do elephants walk so quietly?

An elephant is essentially walking in high-heeled shoes, because the heel bones are raised right up inside the foot and rest on a thick pad of fatty cartilage. This cushions the bones and aligns them more vertically so that the vast weight of the elephant rests directly over the pillar-like legs. African elephants have four toenails at the front and three on the hind legs. Asian elephants have five at the front and four at the back. But these ‘toenails’ are actually just hardened skin patches that aren’t attached to the toe bones at all. Buried inside, elephants have five toes on each foot.