I have heard from people working in zoos that the myth of elephants being afraid of mice is not true.
Here is a short video of a zoo elephant clearly not caring about a mouse.
I don't find it surprising that such a domesticated elephant has learned that mice pose no danger, but what about elephants living in the wild?
Are (wild) elephants "naturally" afraid of mice?
What is their initial reaction when encountering a mouse?
From an Elephant FAQ:
... research has shown that they are, in fact, wary of mice and will back away when confronted with one, but not to the hysterical degree portrayed in many stories.
The simple fact is that elephants will back away from something strange, and so this may not be an actual fear of the mouse itself but just of a new experience.
From the Australian Zoo:
Elephants don't have the best eye sight, only seeing up to about ten meters in front of them, and not much of a neck, so they certainly have difficultly seeing anything running underneath them.
So, [if a] small animal was to run underneath one of our elephants, they may indeed get a fright!
The MythBusters also looked into it and found that a wild elephant did back off when it suddenly saw a mouse.
And a control test showed that it wasn't just the sudden movement on the ground that provoked the reaction (the mouse didn't actually move much at all ).
You can watch a video of their experiment here.
But they only tested one elephant, so it wasn't very conclusive. They tagged the myth "Plausible".
Are there scientifically more sound experiments/studies on (wild) elephants' reaction to mice?
Do (wild) elephants get startled by any small, unknown animal, or is there something special about mice? (After all there are also humans who are afraid of mice, but not of hamsters or guinea pigs. )