Why you should not try to castrate an elephant

Male bull elephants in South Africa. They belong to a diverse group called afrotherians - mammals that live in or originated from Africa.
Male bull elephants in South Africa. They belong to a diverse group called afrotherians - mammals that live in or originated from Africa.PHOTO: NYTIMES
A rock hyrax in South Africa. Though the rock hyrax does not have descending testicles, it does have the two inactive genes that are specifically associated with testicular descent.
A rock hyrax in South Africa. Though the rock hyrax does not have descending testicles, it does have the two inactive genes that are specifically associated with testicular descent.PHOTO: NYTIMES

Unlike most mammals, elephants have their testicles nestled deep within their bodies

Reader, here is an incomplete list of things you should not try with elephants: a memory contest, jump rope and castration.

See, in addition to having uncanny recall and a firm relationship with gravity, elephants have their testicles nestled deep within their bodies, all the way up near their kidneys.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2018, with the headline 'Why you should not try to castrate an elephant'. Print Edition | Subscribe