Elephant plays tunes on harmonica

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 July, 2012, 12:00am


An elephant named Shanthi at the U.S. National Zoo in America plays the harmonica with her trunk and appears to love doing it.

A video released by the zoo shows the 36-year-old Asian elephant playing tunes on a harmonica attached to her stall.

Debbie Flinkman, the elephant keeper, said Shanthi likes music a lot. Apart from playing the harmonica, she also likes to tap on things, flap her ears against objects to make noise and rub her leg up and down brushes to repeat the noise.

Shanthi will play for several minutes at a time. Each time, she ends with a loud sound. The keeper used to bring her a plastic party horn which Shanthi played for hours. She blew it as loud as she could. 'It sounded like she was strangling a goose,' she said.

Flinkman said she doesn't reward Shanthi when she plays on her own because it's something she enjoys. Sometimes Shanthi will lower her ears to be closer to the sound.

Shanthi was a gift from Sri Lanka in 1976. She has a 10-year-old calf, Kandula, who is also in the zoo.