Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree Disposal - Just Add Elephant!
January 5, 2009 2:43 PM   Subscribe

Baby Elephants Eat Christmas Trees : in Germany, baby Elephants are put to work eating five fir trees apiece each day.

You say you want MORE baby elephants?

Playing the harmonica.
On the beach.
Learning to walk.
posted by grapefruitmoon (26 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'd like a job where I eat baby elephants. I bet the meat is tender!
posted by blue_beetle at 3:09 PM on January 5, 2009

what a good way to get rid of xmas trees. much less depressing than leaving them on the curb for the garbage man.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 3:18 PM on January 5, 2009

Is that good for them? Aren't fir trees much more acidic and tough than the grass and plants they usually eat?
I don't know, I'm always skeptical of giving animals food outside of what they've evolved to eat.
But I guess their vets probably thought of that already.
so, umm, that elephant is much cuter than a wood chipper!
posted by rmless at 3:41 PM on January 5, 2009

MUCH cuter than a wood chipper, but doesn't it look like somebody stuffed a whole tree down it's throat without asking? "Here boy! Open up for some peanuts..." and then Favammm! with the tree. Or maybe they added the tree with PS? (Sorry, this seems outlandish to me, and I don't find the picture convincing.)
posted by sneebler at 3:55 PM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

One branch of their ancestors ate pretty much nothing but fir trees. It's the hairy guys with rocks tied to sticks that their vets need to keep an eye out for.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:06 PM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

I can't believe they didn't set that baby elephant walk to the tune of the Baby Elephant Walk.
posted by moonmilk at 4:39 PM on January 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

I dunno, the baby looks pretty happy (I can't imagine there being an elegant way to eat an entire tree) and the zoo person says the trees may help with digestion....also mentions camels and other animals eating trees. Camels; they're nothing more than big goats, aren't they?
posted by Salmonberry at 4:41 PM on January 5, 2009

Pine Bark Blue.

(That said, pine needle tea is damned tasty. If it were to replace whatever perennial cinnamon-nutmeg Christmas Crappuccinabomination Starbucks is hawking, the world would be better for it.)
posted by Sys Rq at 4:44 PM on January 5, 2009

Corresponding article says trees are good for them. Harmonicas? Not so much, but that's a personal guess.
posted by woodway at 4:45 PM on January 5, 2009

I was an exchange student in a small village outside of Fulda, Germany in the mid 1990s. Not content to let baby elephants eat the Christmas trees, the trees are instead collected for a grand HUTSELFEUER!

Translation: really, really, really fucking large bonfire made of the dried-out, months-old, hyperflammable Christmas trees of the entire village. Not content to pose as any old bonfire, HUTSELFEUER featured wild children in masks dancing way too close to the popping inferno. HUTSELFEUER takes place deep in the woods and is accompanied by all sorts of sheltered suburban eyes had never seen anything like it.

Baby elephants may have a higher cute factor, but I'm thinking HUTSELFEUER can consume way more trees.
posted by mynameisluka at 5:05 PM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

You realize they only blow through the harmonica, not ingest them?
posted by parallax7d at 5:07 PM on January 5, 2009

Blowing on a harmonica while dancing is an ungodly combination. Baby elephant wants Dance Dance Revolution.
posted by woodway at 5:27 PM on January 5, 2009

"...and the zoo person says the trees may help with digestion..."

Does it work for humans too? Next time you feel constipated... have a bit of fir!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 5:41 PM on January 5, 2009


Squealing instead of snarking on Metafilter is a welcome surprise...
posted by NikitaNikita at 5:44 PM on January 5, 2009

I don't know, I'm always skeptical of giving animals food outside of what they've evolved to eat.
I'm going to use this argument the next time a friend asks me to buy him a spicy chicken sandwich.

When my dad as a kid, he got to feed marshmallows to the giraffes at the San Diego zoo. We'd still be feeding animals junk food if not for the sadists who would try to poison or hurt the animals.
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:51 PM on January 5, 2009

Horses love spruce trees too (which are not pine trees btw).
posted by fshgrl at 7:34 PM on January 5, 2009

After extensive, ahem, research, I have concluded with 95% confidence that other mammals' babies are WAY cuter than ours.
posted by eritain at 7:57 PM on January 5, 2009

Sys Rq: recipe please, including which kinds of pine needles are best.
posted by oats at 8:59 PM on January 5, 2009

A Baby Elephant by Nikolay Gumilyov

Right now my love for you is a baby elephant
Born in Berlin or in Paris,
And treading with its cushioned feet
Around the zoo director's house.

Do not offer it French pastries,
Do not offer it cabbage heads,
It can eat only sections of tangerines,
Or lumps of sugar and pieces of candy.

Don't cry, my sweet, because it will be put
Into a narrow cage, become a joke for mobs,
When salesman blow cigar smoke into its trunk
To the cackles of their girl friends.

Don't imagine, my dear, that the day will come
When, infuriated, it will snap its chains
And rush along the streets,
Crushing howling people like a bus.

No, may you dream of it at dawn,
Clad in bronze and brocade and ostrich feathers,
Like that magnificent beast which once
Bore Hannibal to trembling Rome.

—Translated from the Russian by Carl R. Proffer
posted by benzenedream at 9:56 PM on January 5, 2009 [4 favorites]

Where can I get some of these fantastic creatures? I have many many things that need eating.
posted by Mister_A at 10:41 PM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Crap and I told the kids the Christmas tree gets turned into mulch - this christmas tree eating business is waaaaay cooler.

They take the ornaments off first, right?
posted by From Bklyn at 12:44 AM on January 6, 2009

Baby elephants are so cute they make me angry.
posted by Evangeline at 8:30 AM on January 6, 2009

nature had a great show on african elephants the other day; lotsa baby elephant antics (um, and infant mortality... and long sad shots of mournful mothers standing over their child for days)
posted by kliuless at 9:54 AM on January 6, 2009

Fifteen birds in five fir trees
Their feathers were fanned in a fiery breeze

posted by TreeHugger at 12:14 PM on January 6, 2009

Since you asked, oats....

Pine Needle Tea

Ingredients: One handful of White Pine needles per cup (250ml) water.

Directions: Wash and chop needles. Boil water. (How much tea do you want? Boil that much water.) Add needles and steep for 15-25 minutes. Strain and serve.

Go for the White Pine, just because the needles are especially big and tasty. Conifers aren't nearly as risky as wild mushrooms, but some are indeed dangerous, so please do thorough research before harvesting any wild plants for any purposes.

Now, unless you have 50-foot ceilings, you probably didn't have a White Pine Christmas tree this year. Lots of common Christmas tree species (firs in particular) make great tea, but it's really probably better to pick from living trees in relative seclusion than from something that sat in a parking lot inhaling car exhaust for god knows how long. (That snow-in-a-can doesn't help, either.)

Pine needle tea tastes and smells delightful, is ridiculously high in scurvy-curin' vitamin C, and costs zero dollars, but pine needle tea should not be consumed by pregnant women. One reference-free google hit says it can kill a fetus, so "it's on the internet so it must be true" aside, it's probably worth playing it safe on that one. Oh, and if you have a pine allergy, don't go swallowing a bunch of pine. Caution: May attract elephants.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:16 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

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