Elephants are amazing animals - not only because of their trunk. Their feet are also unique. Numerous animals dwell in the water-filled footprints that elephants have left behind.
What would Africa be without its elephants? Obviously, one tourist attraction worse off. But the giant animals are also shaping the ecosystem and their environment.
Elephants weigh up to five metric tons. No wonder that these giants leave behind considerably deep and big footprints when walking through savannah and forest.
Depending on the kind of soil, elephant feet can leave prints up to half a metre (1.5 feet) deep. When filled with water they become small pools - a paradise for insects.
Researchers of the Senckenberg Nature Research Society have thoroughly examined elephants' footprints in the Kibale Forest in Rwanda. They found 61 species including water bugs.
Many animals use the pools to deposit their eggs; dragonflies and mosquitoes are just two examples. After only five days, the water-filled holes are teeming with larvae.
Fully grown dragonflies love their pools and even defend them against rivals. Such a nice home has to be protected, right?
Mosquitoes that hatch in the water pools are food for many other animals in the area, including birds. However, they also transmit diseases like malaria and Dengue.
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