The long walk…..
ALTHOUGHT THEY APPEAR TO BE FLAT-FOOTED, elephants are in fact digitigrades [i.e., they walk on tip toes]
The elephant’s weight rests on the tip of each toe and on a fibrous cushion of cartilage under the “heel” which acts as a shock absorber, deadening sound.
Elephant’s feet are constructed in such a way, that the sole spreads out to take the weight at each step. When the foot is lifted, the toes sag and the foot diameter is reduced.
Considering its size and weight, the column-like limbs of the elephant have great mobility although the animal’s bulk demands that 3 feet normally be kept firmly on the ground.
An elephant tends to set its hind foot in the track on the forefoot, so that the tracks of the fore and hind feet often overlap, saving energy and allowing the elephant to travel distance of up to 50km in a day. The average walking gait is 6-8km/h, while a top speed of 30km/