Elephants being afraid of mice is a western folk belief, and there are several stories and jokes related to this issue. The mythological stories are not facts that can clearly explain an elephant’s fear of mice. The myth busters say that elephants are afraid of mice because they fear that mouse will get into their trunks, and cause blockage and irritation of the trunk.
The myths can be considered wrong when we find out what bothers or not bothers the elephant. There was an experiment conducted on the behavior of an elephant. From this experiment, it has been found that elephants do not care about the mouse passing by. It does not even notice the mouse that moves around, but when the mouse makes a noise, and becomes the cause for huge disturbances in the surrounding area, then it certainly startles the elephant.
The other factors that cause a response from the elephant are any predators that may exist in the surrounding, any weird smell in the surrounding, and the distance at which the mouse is moving around. The elephants that are observed in the circus and zoo do not get frightened by the rodents at all. Fast moving objects that are unidentifiable can sometimes signal danger to them.
In another experiment, it is also observed that elephant can notice the mouse moving on its body, as well as near its legs. In order not to step on the mouse, recognizing it as a living creature, the elephant moves aside.
Another experiment can be conducted to know exactly whether the elephant is really worried about the mouse, or is just surprised by the way the mouse is jumping towards it. This can be done by keeping constant conditions while other living creatures are made to emerge suddenly, and the elephant’s response is watched.
The elephant’s behavior towards mice also depends on its previous experiences – the habitat where it lived, whether it is domesticated or not, or whether it has encountered mice already or not. These issues, if studied, might result in giving a correct answer for the question why elephants are afraid of mice.