How Do Elephants Make Use Of Evaporation To Cool Themselves Down On A Hot Day?


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Kath Senior Profile
Kath Senior answered
Elephants are very large animals and they use their food energy to maintain a body temperature that is close to that of humans. Like humans, they are warm blooded animals.

Elephants usually live in hot climates and losing heat tends to be their major problem, rather than keeping warm. It is more difficult for a larger animal to lose heat than a small one. Elephants have two main strategies one of which makes use of evaporation.

The first strategy is behavioural. When elephants get too hot they tend to wallow in pools of water and squirt themselves and each other all over with water. Even on a hot day, the evaporation of water from their skin gives a great cooling effect.

The other strategy is physiological and involves radiation rather than evaporation. Their large ears are thin and rich with blood vessels – flapping their ears in hot weather allows lots of heat to be lost form the blood passing through the ears, so cooling the inside of the body.

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