Many young elephants develop the naughty habit of plugging up the wooden bell they wear around their necks with good stodgy mud or clay so that the clappers cannot ring, in order to steal silently into a grove of cultivated bananas at night.
There they will have a whale of a time quietly stuffing, eating not only the bunches of bananas but the leaves and indeed the whole tree as well, and they will do this just beside the hut occupied by the owner of the grove, without waking him or any of his family. (Source)
Can you imagine? I’m thinking of elephants with black masks over their trunk and face, sneaking into these banana groves to stuff themselves.
SUPER GENTLE CREATURES, THOSE ELEPHANTS
[In India an] elephant was following a truck and, upon command, was pulling logs out of it to place in pre-dug holes in preparation for a ceremony.
The elephant continued to follow his master’s commands until they reached one hole where the elephant would not lower the log into the hole but held it in mid-air above the hole.
When the mahout [elephant driver] approached the hole to investigate, he found a dog sleeping at the bottom; only after chasing the dog away would the elephant lower the post into the hole. (Source)
This reminds me of this YouTube video where in Chile another stray dog risked its life to go and save an injured dog in the middle of a highway.
Or that journalist’s beautiful photo journal entry of a story dubbed “The Loyal Little Bird”. You can read the photos with the captions here (I cannot find the original source, it was printed in a newspaper).
SOME OCTOPUSES CARRY THEIR HOME WITH THEM
Veined octopuses observed off the coast of Indonesia carried coconut shell halves under their bodies, and assembled them as necessary into shelters — something that wasn’t supposed to be possible in their corner of the animal kingdom.
“The fact that the shell is carried for future use rather than as part of a speciﬁc task differentiates this behavior from other examples of object manipulation by octopuses,” wrote the researchers.
All this has come as a bit of a surprise to scientists. After all, octopuses are descended from mollusks. They’re more closely related to clams than to people. They’re not supposed to be smart. But it’s hard to argue with the evidence, and in recent years, researchers have grappled with the possibility that octopuses can even use tools. (Source)
I also learned on TV (*gasp* educational TV in my hotel room!) that octopuses have brains in their tentacles that operate independently from their big brain. 9 brains!
RATS ARE SMART
Rats are smart and often work cooperatively.
At the former Gansevoort poultry market in Greenwich Village, New York, pest control authorities could not understand how rats were stealing eggs without breaking them, so one night an exterminator sat in hiding to watch.
What he saw was that one rat would embrace an egg with all four legs, then roll over on his back.
A second rat would then drag the first rat by its tail to their burrow, where they could share their prize in peace. (Source)