Behold the fearsome Thai water elephant

Mary
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The creature at left is an elusive animal first discovered in the 1800s. Although little is known of this "Thai water elephant's" behavior, it is said that its tusks carry deadly venom, and that only experienced hunters are able to capture them in their watery habitats, which is why they are so rare and expensive. Although they sometimes go for thousands on eBay, we are pleased to offer you -- today and today only! -- your very own taxidermied Thai water elephant as a free bonus for taking us up on our other fabulous offer of the day, which is some beachfront property in Kansas.

I ran across the Thai water elephant at the Museum of Unnatural Mystery while researching Piltdown last week. It seems the creature is a cousin of the jackalope:

A shrew is a small mouse-like mammal with a long pointed snout, making it already vaguely elephant shaped. The taxidermist does his work removing and adding bones and flesh in different places (for example, apparently the front leg bones below the knees are removed and shaped into the tusks). ... It is not clear whether the story of a water elephant has any place in traditional folklore, or if it was simply invented after the first hoaxer discovered he could turn a dead, worthless shrew into a rare, valuable water elephant and need a story to go along with it.

Consider yourself warned -- if you're traveling in Thailand, the water elephant may leap out of its habitat and attempt to take a bite out of your wallet.

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August 15, 2006 - 8:55am
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