A trunk-to-tail quiz about elephants

Posted Monday, Jul. 07, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Party time!

Celebrate the birthdays of Belle and Bowie with special events over two weekends.

When: July 11-13 and Aug. 1-3

Where: Fort Worth Zoo, 1989 Colonial Parkway

Cost: Free with general admission of $12, $9 ages 3-12 and 65+, free age 2 and younger

Daily schedule:

10:15 a.m.: Presentation of elephant birthday “cakes” — a big block of ice shaped like a cake, plus fresh fruit and hay. The first 1,000 guests in the elephant exhibit area receive Blue Bell ice cream.

10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.: Elephant-themed crafts for kids.

3:30 p.m.: Asian elephant calf training. Belle and Bowie will practice following instructions (and getting rewarded with treats) to do things like lie down, which will be necessary for physical exams and bathing when they are older.

4:45 p.m. (July 11 and Aug. 1 only): Asian elephant grooming. All elephants will lie down to have the hay and dust from the day brushed off by keepers with brooms to ensure a clean indoor habitat.

5:45 p.m. (July 12 and 13 and Aug. 2 and 3 only): Asian elephant grooming.

There will be keeper chats and enrichment activities that stimulate the animals mentally throughout the park all day, as well as photo opportunities.

More info: 817-759-7555; www.fortworthzoo.org

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Happy birthday, Belle!

The Fort Worth Zoo’s pint-sized Asian elephant, who grabbed national attention for cuteness when she was born last summer — and then shared the spotlight with adorable baby Bowie the following month — celebrates her first birthday Monday.

Belle was born at 3:34 a.m., weighing 330 pounds and measuring 38 inches tall. Her nephew Bowie will turn 1 on Aug. 5.

The tiny tots are ready to party! Belle’s birthday bash will take place this weekend, and like any Texas kid’s birthday party, it’ll involve Blue Bell ice cream. (“Belle,” after all, is short for Bluebell, the name the public chose for her in a contest last year.) Bowie’s party will take place closer to his birthday, next month.

To get your celebration started, we’ve got a party game: a trunkload of trivia about elephants, both real and fictional. Take our quiz to find out just how much you know about these unique creatures.

Go ahead, put on your party hat.

1. Belle and Bowie were the second and third elephants born at the Fort Worth Zoo in its 105-year history. Who was the first?

a. Bluebonnet

b. Daisy

c. Groucho

d. Barney

2. About how long is a typical elephant pregnancy?

a. 9 months

b. 17 months

c. 22 months

d. 24 months

3. Asian elephants look similar to their African cousins, but can be distinguished by a few physical traits. Which of these is NOT one of them?

a. Asian elephants have shorter trunks.

b. Asian elephants have smaller ears.

c. Asian elephant females do not have large tusks.

d. Asian elephants have fewer wrinkles.

4. In the fourth century B.C., Aristotle spread the notion that elephants had a life expectancy of 200 years. How long do they really live?

a. 30-40 years

b. 40-50 years

c. 50-60 years

d. 60-70 years

5. Which of these physical activities can elephants NOT do?

a. run

b. jump

c. swim

d. purr

6. Elephants eat primarily grass (not peanuts) and other vegetation. How much does one elephant typically consume in a day?

a. 50 pounds

b. 125 pounds

c. 330 pounds

d. 1,150 pounds

7. Elephants have been part of popular culture for centuries. Which of these is NOT the name of a well-known fictional elephant?

a. Horton

b. Babar

c. Gloria

d. Tantor

8. Which of these Disney movies does NOT include an elephant?

a. Dumbo

b. The Jungle Book

c. The Muppets

d. Muppet Treasure Island

9. In the Disney animated film Dumbo , the title character is made fun of because of his large what?

a. ears

b. nose

c. tail

d. eyes

10. In the 1960s cartoon series George of the Jungle , George’s best friend is an ape named Ape and his pet is an elephant named what?

a. Elephant

b. Ellie

c. Larry

d. Shep

11. Speaking of the ’60s, what was the title of the 1967 film about a veterinarian with a unique skill for communicating with his patients, including an elephant?

a. Doctor Dolittle

b. Hatari!

c. Hannibal Brooks

d. Doctor Who

12. Elephants have been part of circus acts since ancient Rome. What was the name of the first elephant to be displayed by a circus in the U.S.?

a. Old Bet

b. Betty

c. Dumbo

d. Snuffles

13. Which of these animals is most closely related to the elephant?

a. hippopotamus

b. rhinoceros

c. anteater

d. manatee

14. Elephants drink up to 80 gallons of water each day. How do they do it?

a. They suck it up their trunks like a straw.

b. They suck it into their trunks and blow it into their mouths.

c. They kneel down and drink with their mouths.

d. They get the necessary water from plants.

15. Elephants often were used in war due to their impressive size. Which commander conquered a place using elephants?

a. George Washington

b. Genghis Khan

c. Hannibal

d. Julius Caesar


1. a) Bluebonnet. Bowie’s mother, Bluebonnet, was the first elephant born at the Fort Worth Zoo. She is 15 years old and her mother is Rasha, who is also Belle’s mother.

2. c) 22 months. Or about 659 days.

3. a) Asian elephants have shorter trunks. Both have similar trunks; however, Asian elephants have smaller ears and smoother skin. African males and females have large tusks, while only some Asian males have tusks.

4. c) 50-60 years. The life expectancy of elephants in the wild varies greatly, but in captivity, elephants are considered quite elderly at 60.

5. b) jump. Elephants are the only mammals that cannot jump. They can swim under water using the trunk as a snorkel. Elephants also make a low purring vibration sound that cannot be heard by humans without special equipment.

6. c) 330 pounds. Digestion takes 22-46 hours, and most of what an elephant eats cannot be digested; 1,150 pounds was the amount eaten daily by the dinosaur Mamenchisaurus.

7. c) Gloria. Gloria is the name of a hippopotamus in the “Madagascar” films. Horton (from Horton Hears a Who!), Babar (from the books and cartoons) and Tantor (from Disney’s Tarzan) are all elephants.

8. c) The Muppets . In Muppet Treasure Island, Miss Piggy makes her appearance by riding in on an elephant named Lucy.

9. a) ears. Dumbo’s ears are so large that he can fly.

10. d) Shep. Shep is an elephant who behaves as if he is a dog.

11. a) Doctor Dolittle . Hatari! (1962) stars John Wayne as a trapper who collects animals in Africa for zoos. Hannibal Brooks (1969) is based on the true story of an elephant rescued by a prisoner of war in 1944. Doctor Who is a British television series that started in the 1960s, but does not feature elephants.

12. a) Old Bet. Old Bet was brought to the U.S. by a tradesman and toured with circus groups in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

13. d) manatee. Manatees and other sea cows, like the dugong, are most closely related to the modern elephant. The hyrax, although it resembles a rodent, is also a near cousin.

14. b) They suck it into their trunks and blow it into their mouths.

15. c) Hannibal. After famously crossing the Alps in winter, Hannibal defeated the Roman cavalry in the Po Valley with 37 elephants during the Second Punic War in 218 B.C.

How did you do?

0-5 right: You need to have your trunk examined. Better luck next time.

6-10 right: Not too shabby. Have a peanut.

11-15 right: Just like an elephant, you never forget. Congratulations!

Sources: Fortworthzoo.org; Internationalelephantfoundation.org; Disney.com; Discovery.com; “Elephants: A Cultural and Natural History,” by Karl Gröning (Konemann, 1998)

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