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Wild Elephant Attacks Woman After She Teases it With Banana

Turns out elephants don't like being teased.

Turns out elephants don't like being teased with the prospect of a snack any more than the rest of us. In a recent viral video, a woman in India was attacked by an elephant after she bailed on feeding him a banana. "You can't fool an elephant," an animal expert commented on the video, noting pachyderms are one of the smartest animals there is. And perhaps also one of the hangriest. Read on to see what happened in the video.

A Miss and a Swing


In the video, the woman holds a banana up to the elephant's mouth, then pulls it back just as he opened his mouth. The animal clearly didn't appreciate the gesture. It thrusts its tusk and trunks forward, knocking the woman backward as the cameraperson gasps and the video cuts out. 

"You Can't Fool An Elephant" 


Susanta Nanda of the Indian Forest Service shared the clip on Twitter. "You can't fool an elephant even though he is tamed," he wrote. "They are one of the most intelligent animals to be in captivity."  Commenters expressed concern for both woman and elephant. "I hope she survived the attack," one man wrote.

"They Are Not to Be Messed With" 


One woman shared that she had experienced something similar. "Me and my cousin went to feed a young pet elephant who for some reason got pissed off and hurled my cousin lightly. He was thrown a few yards away. Was rushed to the hospital with severe eye injury and scratches. Such is the power of their trunk. They are not to be messed with," she said.  "She must have suffered several fractures," another person tweeted.  "She totally deserved it. One needs to be humble around majestic creations. Arrogance will lead to catastrophe," another commenter wrote.  "Pity that there was no one there to stop the young woman from getting so close!" another said.

Elephant Learns How to Peel Bananas


In happier elephant/fruit news, last month the New York Times reported that an elephant at the Berlin Zoo has taught herself how to peel bananas with her trunk. Pang Pha snaps the banana in half with the tip of her trunk, then shakes it until the edible portion slides out. Then she'll eat the fruit, leaving the peel behind.  This happens only when the fruit is ideally ripe. She ignores brown and green bananas. "It's quite skillful," said Michael Brecht, a neuroscientist at Humboldt University of Berlin and one of the authors of a new study on Pang Pha's ability to peel. "She clearly optimized the behavior." 

Scientists Fascinated


Some experts think Pang Pha may have taught herself peeling after watching her human caretakers do it; others aren't so sure. Other elephants haven't picked up the skill. But the simple action has fascinated the zoological world because it's further evidence of the animals' sophistication at manipulating objects.  "Banana peeling is another example of how dexterous the elephant's trunk is," said Joshua Plotnik, a comparative psychologist at Hunter College in New York City. "It's a wonderful 'built in' tool that the elephant uses for a variety of purposes."


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