Are elephants really afraid of mice?
The rumour that elephants are scared of mice is very persistent and there are whole collections of jokes circulating on this topic. However, these jokes are just as incorrect as all the stories about women who scream and jump on the nearest chair at the sight of a mouse.
Why aren’t the elephants scared?
Basically, elephants flee from danger and are afraid of whatever they don’t know. Zoo and circus elephants, however, know practically everything about their environment, and they certainly know mice. Whenever large quantities of hay and straw are delivered to a stable, there are often a few mice hidden in the bales.
In their search for food, mice quickly discover the elephants’ many leftovers. Furthermore, a stable is an ideal home for a mouse. It has everything it needs: food, nesting material, warmth and quiet hiding places.
Why do the elephant keepers hunt the mice?
Since mice can carry diseases, the elephant keepers work hard to keep down their numbers. There is no such thing, however, as a mouse-free stable.