How an elephant’s feet work


If you x-ray the giant feet of an elephant you will see they are actually walking on their tiptoes. The feet appear flat because the internal bones are resting on fatty, shock-absorbing tissue.

Screen shot 2014-11-19 at 11.13.47


Back foot

A human has arched soles called plantigrades. An elephant’s back feet are arched but they still walk on the toes, so these feet are semi-plantigrade. The footprint itself is oval.

Screen shot 2014-11-19 at 11.14.07


Soles of the feet

The pitted, ridges soles of an elephant’s foot gives it great grip and enables it to navigate almost every surface. The fatty tissue helps muffle the nose as the huge animal moves.

Screen shot 2014-11-19 at 11.14.21



Leap into the lives of your favourite animals every month with World of Animals for only £3.99, or get a great deal by subscribing online or becoming a digital reader today.



Image from