Monday, March 07, 2011

Okay, Elephants might not be completely terrified of mice, but they certainly do seem to be afraid of them :

But are the Mythbusters wrong? Are elephants really afraid of mice, in the way some humans freak out when they see a spider scurrying towards them?

Or are these elephants in fact purposely trying to avoid stepping on them? Maybe they've had enough experience stepping on small animals as youngsters to not want to get squished rodent between their toes.

Also, it must not be forgotten, that elephants use their trunks like we use our hands. When they're looking around for fruit on a forest floor, their trunks are snuffling around through undergrowth and grass.

It might simply be they know enough to avoid small darting things because snakes, and some rodents, would bite at a trunk that accidentally finds them amongst the fruit and leaf litter around the base of tree..

Or maybe there's simply a kind of heeby-jeebies terror of small animals running up the inside of their trunks and getting caught.

Whatever the reason, the idea proposed by MythBusters that elephants are irrationally scared of mice is ridiculous.

Considering the (however small in scale) level of threat posed by rodents, spiders, snakes to a snuffling trunk, it makes sense that elephants would learn over the years to rear back and step cautiously around a quick moving something they've only just seen or become aware of.

Elephants can hardly be compared to a man or woman standing on a chair shrieking insanely because there's a mouse, spider or monster cockroach darting around the floor.

Elephants have far more dignity than that.

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