Wildlife TV

Learn interesting and funny plant and animal facts with videos and photos

Elephants avoid a full moon when being naughty

on July 29, 2013

That elephants have great memories we all already knew but that they can also remember and track the phases of the moon to plan when to do something naughty is new to us all.

A group of scientists from the Anglia Ruskin University in the UK conducted research with wild African elephants (Loxondonta africana) and five villages in and around the Mikumi National Park in Tanzania. The researchers were trying to understand when the elephants were more likely to raid the villagers’ crops and to find out if there was a pattern in the behaviour.

What they found out is quite curious.

Although elephants are cathemeral animals, meaning that they are active during both day and night, it seems that they raid significantly less often and do a lot less damage during the night, especially during full moon nights when humans are able to detect them approaching and destroying the crops.

It seems that elephants are able to make a correlation between the lunar cycle and the likeliness of them being caught doing something they shouldn’t have been doing thus increasing their odds of getting away with it. They are getting pro at being “little” scoundrels!

I love elephants but look at that face, you just know they are up to something!





If you liked this entry, make sure you check out our Research category.
Other Research entries:
Nonverbal communication between humans and animals
What perfume to wear on an African safari
‘Ugly’ Animals: Can naked mole rats cure cancer?

7 responses to “Elephants avoid a full moon when being naughty

  1. fascinating – how can anyone think animals are simpler creatures than humans when there is evidence out there like this is beyond me. We would be losing something very special if animals like the elephant become lost to the war against poaching.

  2. Alison Jobling says:

    I love this: I imagine the elephants snickering quietly while they do something naughty. 😉

    • Wildlife TV says:

      Elephants can be very gentle or very mischievous.
      Just yesterday we had a close encounter with a big breeding herd and some of the “teenagers” were a bit rowdy and tried to give us a hard time. Lots of trumpeting, ear flapping, tossing dirty on the air and a few mock charges.
      Of all the animals we can encounter when going on a safari game drive here in the South African savannah, the elephants are the ones I fear the most. An angry adult can do a lot of damage.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: