I was passing through the room where my boys were watching MythBusters this afternoon. I had to stop, of course, because it involved wildlife.
Today’s myth to bust was whether or not Elephants are really afraid of mice. So the two hosts set out to Africa (according to Henry) to test the elephants in the wild. (I’m not sure though, they could have been at some zoo in Arizona.) Regardless, there were two elephants being tested. The hosts put a live white mouse in a hollowed out dung ball in the elephant’s stomping ground. They then attach some twine to the ball in such a way that when the elephant walks by it trips the twine, tipping over the dung, thereby releasing the mouse.
So what happens? The elephant walks by, trips the twine, turns over the ball and exposes the mouse. Sure enough, the elephant startles and sidesteps the little being, giving it plenty of berth.
The two hosts are incredulous. How could such a giant elephant beast, be afraid of such a tiny little mouse? They confirm the myth and make their proclamation that indeed, it looks like Elephants are afraid of mice!
Thing is, here’s my take. I was watching, and what I saw wasn’t that the elephant was afraid. What I saw was that the elephant makes way for the little white mouse because he didn’t want to step on him. He didn’t want to harm him. The elephant wasn’t afraid, rather he was being compassionate.
That’s my hypothesis, and I’m going to set out to prove it. But, you be the judge, watch the YouTube video and give us your thoughts.