Can the beginning of musth be predicted?
With Maxie, the elephant bull in the Zurich
zoo, it is conspicuous that, about two months before it is obviously
in the musth, the floor of its stable begins to foam when it is washed
Is musth a bulls' rutting time?
The opinion of many zoo visitors that a musth bull would be in his
rutting season, is absolutely wrong. Musth has nothing in common
with rut. The elephant bulls don't know a rutting season like deers
or antelopes, because the oestrous cycle of the female elephants is
not seasonally timed.
Does a bull in musth spend time with the elephant group?
For this reason it is also right not to bring the bull into contact
with the female elephant during its musth. The risk that the musth bull
could attack the cows because they annoy it for any reason is too big.
The fact that the musth bull cannot be controlled by the elephant keepers
and the very cramped conditions in a zoo would give the cows and the
elephant calves no chance to get out of danger.
Why do elephant bulls go into musth?
Actually there is nothing known about the purpose of the musth. Every
elephant researcher and every elephant keeper has got his own opinion.
Usually the ideas are about the marking of territories, the expelling
of other bulls from an area and about the possibility that also a physically
weaker bull can reproduce itself this way. The musth seems to be a remnant
from the elephants' prehistoric time, which has endured up to the modern