Are Elephants Afraid of Mice?

ByABC News
May 12, 2006, 11:56 AM

— -- Elephants are afraid of mice.

I've heard that one since I was a little kid. So to check it out, we went looking for some elephants.

We found them at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, where the head clown let me ask the audience.

The resounding answer from the audience: "Mice. Mice. Mice."

Many people, however, learned about elephants fearing mice from cartoons like "Dumbo."

But why would a big animal fear such a small one? Well, it seems logical to us or at least plausible because if you think about it, as adults we are afraid of little bugs.

And what would one of these elephants do if we showed it a mouse?

Not much. Troy Metzler, the circus' elephant trainer, let me take one white mouse and show it to an elephant that only looked bored by it all.

Metzler says he's seen mice around the elephants. They like the hay, but he's never tested the myth up close.

"We've never really gave it a thought," Metzler said. "I'm glad we got the chance."

Seemed to me the elephant was more likely to inhale the mouse than fear it.

Metzler showed mice to several of his elephants, and not one of them seemed to care much.

He's trained elephants for 24 years and says, elephants fear no animal.

"They're the kings of the jungle because they have no natural enemies," Metzler said.