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
  • animereina2020
    animereina2020Saturday, June 13, 2020 at 6:27 pm
    Wait a minute✋.... Is this true, or are elephants🐘scared of mice🐁? I heard about it, but is it REALLY true🤔?
    • John cenaFriday, February 15, 2019 at 5:50 am
      Wow that's sad
      • 1650102
        1650102Monday, April 16, 2018 at 9:25 am
        They are not afraid of ants they just do not want them in their trunks.
        • alanThursday, September 28, 2017 at 11:22 am
          lol
          • sohan2006
            sohan2006Friday, February 19, 2016 at 7:50 am
            LOL
            • hi thereFriday, December 18, 2015 at 11:49 am
              the last picture made me laugh
              • heyybbyyTuesday, November 17, 2015 at 12:50 pm
                My mighty elephant isn't afraid of anything ;))))))))))))
                • buddy_puppy
                  buddy_puppyTuesday, November 10, 2015 at 6:53 pm
                  WOW!!!!!!!!!!
                  • dracarys
                    dracarysMonday, October 5, 2015 at 1:20 pm
                    Hes mighty he can do anything to anyone!!!!!...... EXEPT ANTS!!!!! omg XD lol
                    • VedaanshTuesday, September 8, 2015 at 6:18 pm
                      O my gosh