The Mighty Elephant Is Afraid Of . . . . Ants?

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First it was bees, not it turns out that the world's largest land animal - the African elephant, may be afraid of an even smaller insect - the tiny ant!

The startling discovery was made by researchers accidently, while examining the eco-system in the East African Savanna. Professor Todd Palmer from the University of Florida and his colleagues noticed that while the hungry animals devoured most trees, they kept their distance from one species of Acacia, the Acacia drepanolobium. Upon closer examination, the scientists discovered that the trees were swarming with armies of ants!

To test if ants were the deterrent, the team conducted a number of different experiments. They stripped some of the trees off their ants, and lo and behold, the elephants went ahead and started munching on them. Still not completely convinced they placed some swarms onto the mammal's most favorite tree, another species of Acacia, the A. Mellifera and, sure enough, the elephants kept away from them.

The scientists believe that the elephants are afraid of ants for the same reason they are afraid of bees - They do not like getting swarms of them inside their trunks, which are highly sensitive and full of nerve endings. Hence, whenever they get a whiff of these pesky creatures, they just keep their distance.

They are now hoping to use this research to preserve the trees and crops in the region. Due to their large appetites the elephants munch their way through entire forests reducing them to grasslands and, altering the area's ecosystem. The mammals are also notorious for eating through farms.

The scientists hope that introducing ant odor near the farms and trees will help protect both, thereby reducing the constant conflicts between the residents and the mighty mammals.

Sources: telegraph.co.uk, news.bbc.co.uk

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251 Comments
  • adroit_avimimus
    Haha, I like to think of it like a situation where people are afraid of bugs like roaches and moths and rodents like mice and raccoons even though they are much more bigger than them
    • animereina2021
      animereina2021about 2 years
      Wait a minute✋.... Is this true, or are elephants🐘scared of mice🐁? I heard about it, but is it REALLY true🤔?
      • John cenaover 3 years
        Wow that's sad
        • 1650102
          1650102over 4 years
          They are not afraid of ants they just do not want them in their trunks.
          • alanalmost 5 years
            lol
            • sohan2006
              sohan2006over 6 years
              LOL
              • hi thereover 6 years
                the last picture made me laugh
                • heyybbyyover 6 years
                  My mighty elephant isn't afraid of anything ;))))))))))))
                  • buddy_puppy
                    buddy_puppyover 6 years
                    WOW!!!!!!!!!!
                    • dracarys
                      dracarysalmost 7 years
                      Hes mighty he can do anything to anyone!!!!!...... EXEPT ANTS!!!!! omg XD lol