African elephant feet

African elephant feet

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Caption: African elephant feet. African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are the largest and heaviest land animals alive today. Their feet are formed in such a way that they are essentially walking on tiptoe. All five toes are buried inside the flesh of the foot but not all of them have toenails. The sole is ridged and pitted, being comprised mainly of tough fatty connective tissue. It acts as a 'shock absorber' so that the elephants move silently and stably over various terrains. Photographed at King's Pool in the Linyanti Reserve, Botswana.

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