The vegetarian elephant


It just doesn’t make any sense. But then again, a lot of things in this world don’t make sense to me. How can elephants grow to be the largest land animals in the world by only eating vegetables?

Here’s a better question, why are gorillas so strong eating just vegetables and fruit?

Answer: Neither is really a true vegetarian. They cheat on their diets in the middle of the night. Just like I do.

Both have a midnight snack, but not many know what that is. Don’t think the jungle can serve up midnight snacks fit for elephants and gorillas? Keep reading, Dear Reader, this is one tasty story.

Not being able to sleep due to still being hungry can be a downside of any strict diet, but it’s also a plus. It gives you the time for a midnight snack. A huge snack in the middle of the night is the cure for my insomnia. Trust me, a full tummy of ice cream and chocolate chip cookies washed down with a large glass of warm milk puts me right into a sugar coma. Try it; it’ll knock you out for the rest of the night, too.

Now I’m not the only one who cheats on a diet. Pachyderms pack on the pounds because they cheat also. In fact, I’ve read that elephants really aren’t vegetarians after all. Because they can’t actually “choose” not to eat meat and because being a vegetarian is a choice, they can’t be vegetarians.

They are actually herbivorous. About 5% of their diet is unavoidably protein from ants, bugs, grubs, and bird eggs on plants they eat. Still, it doesn’t explain how they get so large. But cheating on their diet sure does.

A little known fact: Elephants actually do eat meat. They feed at night when no one can see them eating their favorite food — kangaroos. When I told The Wife my theory she said, “Elephants live in the jungle. There’re no kangaroos in the jungle.”

See, she proved my point. The elephants have eaten all of them. Guess now they’ll have to find another midnight snack. Can’t have a bunch of skinny elephants walking around can we? That just wouldn’t be right.

Elephants cheat on their diets, and so do gorillas. Gorillas aren’t actually strict vegetarians either. A part of their diet also includes ants, snails, and those big fat tasty grubs. Grubs are great for a midnight snack. I’ve been told they’re tasty. I’ve never actually eaten fat grubs in the middle of the night. Skinny ones, yes, but not fat ones.

I did eat a grub during a campout in Neighbor Thomas’s backyard. He was skinny — the grub, not Neighbor Thomas. Now don’t judge me, I had to do it. It was a double dog dare. Yes, grubs taste like chicken – at least that skinny one did.

During my physical last week, I asked Doc if a vegetarian diet would be healthy for me. He agreed that it would. Then I asked if I’d gain weight and be as big as an elephant or strong as a gorilla. He raised an eyebrow, jotted down some notes on my chart and replied, “You’re not an elephant or gorilla. Still need a source of protein.”

I said, “Could eat grubs like they do. Eating only vegetables and big fat grubs shouldn’t be too hard. I’ll wrap the grubs in bacon and fry them. Bacon-wrapped fried grubs – now that’s protein Southern style.”

Doc just shook his head mumbling something as he left the room. I think he said, “Bacon, good idea. Grubs taste like chicken.”

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog:]