Are Elephants Afraid of Mice?

Are Elephants Afraid of Mice

It is popularly believed that an elephant is much afraid of mice, presumably because it fears the mouse might get into the end of its trunk and either suffocate it or injure the delicate inner lining of the nasal passages.

But in reality, elephants are not afraid of mice. The actions of elephants in zoological gardens and circuses do not confirm this belief. Mice are frequently seen running about in elephants’ stalls, sometimes very close to the ends of their trunks, but the elephants totally disregard them.

Since their eyesight is rather poor, it is possible that they cannot see a mouse at a distance. But since their sense of smell is one of the keenest in the entire animal kingdom the chances are that they can smell it, small as it is, especially when it is only a few inches from the end of the trunk.

But in any case, it is very doubtful whether a mouse could cause an elephant much injury, even if the rodent had the courage to crawl into the end of the trunk. In all probability, the elephant would simply take a deep breath, blow vigorously through the trunk and splatter the mouse over the walls of the stall.

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