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Elephants and Trees Part 2: Trees Provide More Than a Canopy For Elephants: Baobab Trees

The African Baobab Tree is truly a wonder and a sight to behold. It was even featured in the children’s classic ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Having originated in Madagascar the baobab dispersed to Africa and Australia evolving into the towering “natural masterpiece” that it is today. (13) 

Humans, elephants and other animals are drawn to the baobab tree for its life-giving properties. 

Elephants especially gain a great deal of sustenance from the baobab. And despite the damage caused by elephants the baobab tree is capable of regrowing its bark.


Image: cc flickr by feedthefuture, baobab fruit harvest from the baobab tree, full copyright respected

Image: ccflickr by phrederica, elephants have really enjoyed this baobob tree





Source (14)



“In the south of the African continent Botswana has no ocean but the Okavango Delta is home to wide variety of fauna, a windfall for Safari lovers.”

 “The Kalahari desert covers nearly seventy percent of Botswana where the Bushmen live, the first inhabitants of southern Africa.”

“They were made famous by a film called ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’ and that seems to be true because they planted a tree upside down.”


According to a legend the gods have just finished creating the world when they realized that they had forgotten to plant the baobab tree.” 

“So they hastily threw it down from heaven.

Is it a way of asking forgiveness that the gods tied its destiny to the elephant’s?” 


Monkey bread grows on it. The fruit is very rich in vitamins and has two times more calcium than milk.” 

“But the baobab seed can only germinate if it has first passed through a pachyderm’s stomach.”

This means that when the elephant disappears so will the baobab.

“Elephants walk on the pathways of Botswana and baobabs grow.”

 “If the gods had tied man’s destiny to nature then one thing would be for sure they really would be crazy.”

                                                                                                               Transcribed from Source (1)



Image: cc flickr by NOELFEANS, dark clouds surround baobab tree Tanzania





Source (1)




– a baobab is extremely useful to humans and (animals) elephants; its nickname is ‘the tree of life’” (11)

 – “Baobabs are called ‘the tree of life’ because of the high content of vitamin c,  the high concentration of minerals”and the high fiber (almost 50 %) content of the baobab fruit”

– “the protruding limbs of the tree which have the appearance of roots led to the nickname the ‘upside down tree’” (11)


– “about 80% of the bark of the baobab tree is made of water.” (11) 

– “the seedlings and the leaves of the baobab tree, called adansonia (mabuyu in Swahili) are high in calcium, potassium and iron” (11) 

– “The red baobab fruit (Mabuyu in Swahili) so delicious and yummy, the fruit is edible because of its high nutrient value and possible health benefits a good source of vitamin c, it has a citrus flavor”


Image: cc flickr by jacashgone, baobab fruit and flowers on the baobab tree


– “the leaves of the baobab tree can be boiled and used as a traditional medicine in treating many kind of diseases” (11)

– “the leaves of the baobab tree can be cooked and eaten like spinach” (11)

– “the back of the baobab tree can be extracted and used to make glues and soap” (11)


elephants like ripping large pieces (of bark) from the trunks of the baobab trees to get the nutrients and the stored water” (11)

– “elephants know that the baobab trees store water and especially in the dry season when the water is scarce they will come for the baobab tree to quench their thirst” (11)

– “The biggest threat of the indigenous baobab trees in Africa today are elephants eating the Baobab tree. They rip off the large pieces of the baobab trees. What they do is they they pull out the outside spongy stem of the baobab and then they chew the inside part of the stem, the soft part of the baobab tree hence (causing) massive destruction of the baobab trees.” (11)


Image: ccflickr by Wayne w g a, baobob tree damaged by elephants



– “(For humans) “the trunks (of the baobab trees) have been hollowed out to be used as houses, housing almost five to 10 people” (11)

– The baobab tree, it is believed, can survive up to 2 000 years of age making it the most long ancient living flower watering tree on earth” (11)

– “Also it is believed that the baobab tree existed 200 years before any human life on earth making it iconic and amazing” (11)


Image: cc flickr by taffyraphael, elephant shaded by baobab tree in Tanzania Africa

Image: ccflickr by Eric vaandering, full copyright respected, Elephant scratching on a baobab tree stump


– “A baobab tree (botanical name adansonia digitata) can grow up to 100 feet tall and the baobab tree has a variety of uses, almost 200 uses including the seedlings (mentioned before)” (11)

– “The baobab fruit consists of a floury white pulp containing a black seed” (which is not eaten). It has a “pungent and slightly sweet” taste resembling grapefruit.  And since monkeys love to climb the highest of trees, thus reaching the highest hanging baobab fruit it is often referred to as  monkey bread.’” (12)


Image: cc flickr by dontehunter85, baobab fruit from the baobab tree, full copyright respected



See next: Elephants and Trees Part 3: Trees Provide More Than a Canopy For Elephants: “The Lollipop Tree”



Images: CCFlickr by NOELFEANS dark clouds surround baobab tree Tanzania (2); by dontehunter85 baobab fruit from the baobab tree, full copyright respected (3); by jacashgone baobab fruit and flowers on the baobab tree (4); by feedthefuture baobab fruit harvest from the baobab tree, full copyright respected (5); by taffyraphael  elephant shaded by baobabwikimedia tree in Tanzania Africa (6); by Eric vaandering, full copyright respected, Elephant scratching on a baobab tree stump (7); by Wayne w g  a baobab tree damaged by elephants (8); by Brenden Timpe African elephants seek water inside baobab trees during droughts (9); by phrederica elephants have really enjoyed this baobab tree (10)



(1) “The baobab and the Elephant: A Connected Destiny- Crazy world stories” creative commons video by Stop Over – Documentary, Discovery, History   https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=The+baobab+and+the+Elephant%3A+A+Connected+Destiny-+Crazy+world+stories+Creative+Commons

(2) https://www.flickr.com/photos/endogamia/3909197706/sizes/c/

(3) https://www.flickr.com/photos/141868702@N08/44465513282/sizes/c/

(4) https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrew_ashton/15623529553/sizes/c/ 

(5) https://www.flickr.com/photos/feedthefuture/6925388046/sizes/z/ 

(6) https://www.flickr.com/photos/taffyraphael/32888599358/sizes/l/

(7) https://www.flickr.com/photos/ericvaandering/11778218466/sizes/l/

(8) https://www.flickr.com/photos/wayne_g_world/13260239364/sizes/z/

(9) https://www.flickr.com/photos/bdtimpe/3913159196/sizes/c/

(10) https://www.flickr.com/photos/phrederica/8093629803/sizes/l/

(11) “The last magic of Baobab tree on women” By Baller Bee https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=KLG4BSDsS_8&t=381s

(12) https://www.afrikana.sk/en/blog/baobab-monkey-bread_87#:~:text=The%20baobab%20fruit%20consists%20of,the%20name%20%22monkey%20bread%22.

(13) “How the Baobab Tree, Beloved by Elephants and Lemurs, Evolved?By ScienceApe    https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=Z6r1G7K6YSE 

(14) “Elephant enjoying Baobab tree, #2. Liwonde in Malawi”  By NiZoMo001 https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Elephant+enjoying+Baobab+tree+2++Liwonde+in+Malawi+creative+Commons



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Image: ccflickr by Brenden Timpe, African elephants seek water inside baobob trees during droughts

One thought on “Elephants and Trees Part 2: Trees Provide More Than a Canopy For Elephants: Baobab Trees

  1. Pingback: Elephants and Trees Part 1: Trees Provide More Than a Canopy For Elephants: Marula Trees | Elephant Spoken Here

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