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Guard elephants

  [vote for,

Elephants are intelligent and, if properly trained, loyal animals. They are also notably large. Moreovermore, elephants in the wild often have a hard time, what with poaching* and all.

It strikes me that an elephant would make a much better guard dog than an actual dog. For one thing, no burglar is going to argue with five tons of muscle, skin and ivory. For another, elephants allegedly have good memory, and ought to be able to pick out a ne'er-do-well in a line-up. And relatively few burglars are going to come equipped with an elephant gun.

Elephants taking part in parades or religious festivals are often adorned with all manner of outfits, so there is no reason why a guard elephant cannot wear a dark blue uniform, quick- release necktie and an official-looking badge. Alternatively, a simple lightweight lounge suit would help them to blend in, in cases where security arrangements need to be discreet.

Obviously, we would want to breed guard elephants specially, rather than taking them from the wild. At the same time, it should be possible to select for elephants with particular aptitude for the job.

[*Frankly, I've never understood elephant poaching. It takes forever and you don't get crackling.]

MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 10 2019

For [hippo] https://en.wikipedi...wiki/Elephant_shrew
The small end of the scale is taken care of... [neutrinos_shadow, Oct 10 2019]

Elephant diet and eating habits https://seaworld.or...out/elephants/diet/
"Elephants eat between 149 and 169 kg (330-375 lb.) of vegetation daily." [discontinuuity, Oct 14 2019]


       Wouldn't most ne'er-do-wells just escape through a convenient doorway too small for the elephant to fit through? I take your points about elephants' intelligence, ability to point out ne'er-do-wells in a line-up etc., but I think that a few generations of selective breeding to reduce the size of elephants to that of a large dog would make them more effective as ne'er-do-well deterrents.

Or maybe a range of sizes is the answer... - if the ne'er-do-well escapes from your full-size elephants, you could then unleash an army of hundreds of elephants ranging in size from pony-sized right down to mouse-sized.
hippo, Oct 10 2019

       //escape through a convenient doorway too small for the elephant to fit through// In my experience, an elephant will get through practically any doorway it wants to.   

       It's also worth pointing out that even the best guard dogs cannot stop a getaway vehicle by sitting on it.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 10 2019

       On the other hand a flock of tiny, rabbit-sized elephants will cause ne'er-do-wells to stop in their tracks, spellbound by their cuteness.
hippo, Oct 10 2019

po, Oct 10 2019

       //spellbound by their cuteness// You clearly get a better class of ne'er-do-well in your neck of the woods, [hippo]. And thank you, [po].
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 10 2019

       //You clearly get a better class of ne'er-do-well in your neck of the woods, [hippo]// - we prefer to call them ne'er-do-really-rather-good
hippo, Oct 10 2019

       Elephants are terrified of mice.........
xenzag, Oct 10 2019

       ...but fortunately very few mice commit burglary.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 10 2019

       Mountain tested.
Hannibal approved.

       Apparently the liver is delicious, with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 12 2019

       Guard Camels.   

       Make better shadows. Me thinks.
blissmiss, Oct 12 2019

       There is an old Iraqi saying: "At noon, even the camel has no shadow."
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 12 2019

       Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between something that's really profound, and something that's just stupidity dressed up in words to make it seem like wisdom.   

       This is not one of those occasions, however. That aphorism is rubbish.
8th of 7, Oct 12 2019

       Hey, that's something you need to take up with the Iraqians. The literal translation says "At the time of the midday meal"; if they were having lunch, I would imagine the camels would be lying down. If so, then one can only hypothesize about the existence of a shadow at the camel/sand interface. Of course, one could theoretically get a camel to lie on top of one, allowing direct observation, but this seems impractical and uncomfortable. Frankly, if an Iraqian says something about camels, I'm inclined to just take his or her word for it.   

       I would ask my parents (who spent much time in Iraq) but (a) they are both dead and (b) they never mentioned being laid on by a camel.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 12 2019

       //it can be difficult to distinguish between something that's really profound, and something that's just stupidity// - <spinal tap>“It’s such a fine line between stupid, and clever”</st>
hippo, Oct 12 2019

       //they never mentioned being laid on by a camel//
Probably because it's not really something that you can bring up in polite conversation...
neutrinos_shadow, Oct 13 2019

       ... particularly with your children; although the Buchanan family is notoriously broad-minded.   

       Some writings (we wish to avoid the ambiguous word "entries" for reasons that may unfortunately become all too clear) in the private diary of the short-lived Roman Emperor Elagabalus, who was personally acquainted with a certain "noble" family from the province of Brittania, definitelyshow that he found their antics "depraved, shocking, and quite frankly bloody weird. Have told the Praetorians not to let them in to the next orgy".   

       Given Elagabalus's reputation (which made Gaius Caligula seem staid and rather repressed), that tells you all you need to know. If you insist on researching further, it's your own stupid fault if you spend the rest of your life waking up screaming in the night despite the medication.
8th of 7, Oct 13 2019

       Old Elly? According to family legend, _he_ was the one who...well, I don't want to say it. Suffice to say that the Buchanans have never kept Daschunds since then.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 13 2019

       sp. Britannia.   

       Carry on, probably involving Kenneth Williams.
pertinax, Oct 14 2019

       This is good. For centuries they've proven they can wear any necessary armor and do well in battle.   

       Strap a taser / baton to their trunk and you've got a force to be dealt with. "Warning! Our pachyderms are packing!"   

       Do elephants scratch their privates with their trunks? OK, let me re-think that last one, but the guard elephant project gets a green light from me.
doctorremulac3, Oct 14 2019

       Hey, guys, [doc] gave us the green light. Take down the "UmbrellaStands4U.com" website and "Kebaborama.co.uk" and let's get to work. Oh, and [8th], clean-up in aisle three. And four.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 14 2019

       Oh no, not again. How did he get in ? Besides, he was supposed to be at his Metalcleaningproducts Anonymous meeting ...
8th of 7, Oct 14 2019

       They threw him out. Said he was a bad influence.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 14 2019

       But he was the only member ....   

       It's the Multiple Personity Disorder thing again, isn't it ?   

       Which is weird, since he hasn't even got a personality.
8th of 7, Oct 14 2019

       He was the only member _by the time he was thrown out_.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 14 2019

       I remember hearing on the podcast No Such Thing As A Fish that elephants would be a good replacement for drug sniffing dogs because they have a better sense of smell.   

       One downside I can see is that elephants eat (and excrete) huge volumes of plant matter, over 300 lbs per day. That might get costly (and messy).
discontinuuity, Oct 14 2019

       Well, if they were trained to sniff marijuana they could be an all-in-one self-propelled detection and disposal system, reducing the food supply problem.   

       Plus they would be a deterrent to home-growing ; they probably wouldn't wait to get a warrant, just pull the roof off and help themselves.   

       And most of the time, they would be very good-natured, calm and friendly.
8th of 7, Oct 14 2019

       Yikes. Reminds me of that scene from Clockwork Orange when the droogies were lying in wait to have a "meeting" with Alex.
doctorremulac3, Oct 14 2019

       //elephants would be a good replacement for drug sniffing dogs// It was tried briefly at Heathrow. You know when the drug-dog-handler wanders around the baggage hall? And the cute sniffer dog starts climbing on luggage trolleys and sometimes on the luggage carousel to sniff the luggage? Yeah, well, they went back to dogs.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 14 2019

       Somehow when I was reading this idea my mind strayed off into a slight variation: Guide Elephants.
Canuck, Oct 16 2019

       Guide Elephants would be great - they could take you pretty much anywhere you wanted to go, other than perhaps a rail line or an active runway.   

       Supermarket closed ? No problem, you Guide Elephant can push the whole frontage in. Busy traffic ? No problem, anything smaller than a 40-tonner is going to give way to an elephant. No parking space? No problem, you can park in a space that's already occupied once your elephant has squashed the current occupant and flung the wreckage away...   

       Guide elephants. You know you want one.
8th of 7, Oct 16 2019


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