HomesillyCanoeing with Elephants


Canoeing with Elephants — 5 Comments

  1. It really is up to you. If you would like to have elephant passengers, you would just need a much larger and sturdier canoe than average. You might find that this presents some practical difficulties. For instance, if you try to carry such a canoe on your car, your visibility may be obstructed since it is larger than the car and would tend to overhang the windows. You would need six or seven people to carry it to the water. It can be difficult to maneuver in narrow waterways. And elephants can’t paddle very well, so you would have to do all the work.

    It’s also worth bearing in mind that elephants are ruminants, and like most of these, they are likely to poop when they need to poop, not necessarily exiting the canoe first. You would want to sit in front.*

    Also, elephants are really poor with rapids.

    So it’s a tradeoff. You decide whether it’s worth the trouble.

    * I attended a Cafe Scientifique recently where the speaker, a member of a local Dakota tribe, told us that his father’s name meant, “Do not stand in front of the black buffalo.” I wondered whether he might have an uncle named “Do not walk behind the black buffalo.” While I had better taste than to ask, I noted it down, determined to make use of it at the earliest possible opportunity, however tenuous the excuse. Because that’s what writers do.

      • Eli, you raise an interesting point. In all the cases that I’ve been canoeing with elephants, the elephants were already there in the river, not hanging around the launch where they might get harassed by drunks. I suppose if you bring your own elephant, you could use it as a beast of burden both to load and unload the canoe.

        Unfortunately, you can’t have an elephant and a native plant garden, and we chose the garden.

        And there is still the poop issue. Rebecca read this post and pointed out that the rear is the favorable position for paddling, so it’s a problem if you’re forced to sit in front as I suggest. She also suggested the elephant could face the rear of the craft so that you could converse while you paddle, but I think elephants prefer to be able to see where they’re going. Don’t you agree?