In an older post about elephants in love, Lynne shared the following story. With her permission, I’m posting it as an entry.
I volunteered at a zoo back in the 1970’s doing animal behavior observations with elephants and others. I spent one hour each week observing and recording what I saw.
One week I watched the herd bull and a young cow who had never been pregnant. It was hoped that would soon change, so the two were cooped up in the viewing rooms of the barn to get acquainted and do the deed. The youngster was utterly disinterested. The bull was gentle, interested, and persistent, using his trunk to stroke her and sniff her. Repeatedly, she simply moved off to the other side of the room. Nothing more happened in that hour.
The next week, I observed the same two animals plus another female. My supervisor told me the new animal was an experienced female who understood sex, and who might be able to teach the reluctant youngster a thing or two. This ‘older woman’ flirted w/ the bull unashamedly. The bull immediately responded. The two stood face to face, trunks stroking, exploring, and sniffing each other’s bodies. The reluctant youngster simply watched from across the room. She seemed to be glaring, but I think it was her constant slight agitation that made me think that.
She stood beside an enormous metal chain with a ring on the end, which hung from the roof. This chain could be pulled by the elephants at any time to activate a carwash that had been installed in their doorway. The elephants could then give themselves a shower whenever they wanted. The reluctant youngster never left the immediate area of the chain. She stood watching intently as the happy couple petted and rumbled and attempted to copulate. As soon as the couple neared the doorway, the youngster pulled the chain dousing them both with cold water, and the five foot erection would disappear.
She did this 3 times during my hour of observation. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The zoo patrons were pretty amazed too. It was interesting to see the women going up close to watch, giggling and talking to one another. The few men who came in abruptly left without a word.
On the following week, the experienced ‘older woman’ was gone. Little Miss Reluctance and the bull were happily groping each other and ignoring the crowd of interested visitors.