An adult elephant weighs in at nearly five tons. Its peskiest threat is a fraction of that. But in order for a pachyderm to slap away a tiny mosquito once it lands on its backside, an elephant must generate the same amount of torque it takes to accelerate a car.
That’s one finding in a new Georgia Tech study that looked at how animals use their tails to keep mosquitoes at bay. The researchers also discovered that mammals swish the tips of their tails at a velocity of one meter per second, nearly the same speed as a mosquito flies.