August 14, 2018

8:49 am

The Buzz That Roars

Elephants may be the biggest land mammal on the planet, but they're scared stiff of a relatively tiny creature (and hint: it's not mice).

Bees can drive elephants into a near panic -- and with good reason. Young elephant calves are particularly vulnerable to stings. And bees can also gather around and sting adult elephants' eyes (they're attracted to the water there) and even fly up -- and sting inside -- their trunks.

So concerned are elephants about bees, in fact, that one expert believes they have a special alarm that they sound when they hear bees swarming, which, as Science Magazine describes it, is a "distinctive rumble."

Dr. Lucy King, who runs the Human-Elephant Co-Existence Program for Save the Elephants in Kenya, believes that the sound might even be equivalent to an elephant word for "Bees!"