Are Elephants Really Afraid of Mice?
It isn’t true that elephants are afraid of mice. Because the elephant is such a big animal, however, it is amusing to imagine that a little mouse can frighten it. The reason usually given for why elephants are afraid of mice is the possibility that a mouse can get into an elephant’s trunk, causing the elephant to suffocate.
Even if a mouse should try to crawl into an elephant’s trunk, the huge animal would simply blow it out with a mighty sneeze. The mouse-in-the-trunk myth, for example, dates back centuries to the ancient Greeks, who told fables about a mouse that climbed into an elephant’s trunk and drove it crazy.
Mice are often found in the stalls of captive elephants, but the elephants pay no attention to them at all! It seems that elephants aren’t all that concerned with the small creatures. So rather than being afraid of the mouse itself, an elephant is most likely just surprised by its quick, frantic movements. “But the same is true for most animals.”
Theories abound that elephants are afraid of mice because the tiny creatures nibble on their feet or can climb up into their trunks, but there’s no evidence to back up either of those claims.