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Posted by on Jan 26, 2016 in Tell Me Why |

Are Elephants Afraid of Mice?

Are Elephants Afraid of Mice?

It is amusing to think that a tiny mouse can frighten the huge elephant. The reason, supposedly, is that a mouse could crawl into the elephant’s trunk and this might suffocate the elephant. The truth is that although mice are often seen running about in an elephant stall, the elephant shows no fear of them at all.

Since the elephant’s nose is a double barreled tube, it would be impossible for a mouse to suffocate an elephant by crawling into its trunk. But should a mouse ever try, the elephant would simply blow the mouse out with a mighty sneeze.

Evidence from zoos suggests that elephants can get along with mice. Elephants in zoos often eat hay. Mice can often be found in and around the elephants’ hay, and zookeepers have reported that elephants usually don’t pay them any attention. In fact, some elephants don’t even seem to mind mice crawling on their faces and trunks.

So despite the old urban legend that elephants are afraid of mice, it seems that elephants aren’t all that concerned with the small creatures. Any reaction they have may have more to do with surprise than fear. Perhaps the old belief developed from how funny it would be if elephants really were afraid of mice.

Content for this question contributed by Patrick Mac Crone, resident of Aptos, Santa Cruz County, California, USA