, , , ,

My company is ElephantPM and here is some elephant orientated physics.

Vodka ‘saved’ elephants in Siberian freeze

via BBC News – Vodka ‘saved’ elephants in Siberian freeze.

In this article the BBC journalist alleges that the elephants’ owners did wrong giving the elephants vodka,

“Like with humans, alcohol can make animals feel warmer but it actually lowers their core body temperature, scientists say.”

I suspect that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. A quick consideration of an elephant brings to mind the fact that it has a low surface-area to volume ratio. It would take a very long time for its core body temperature to drop compared to a person.

But, if as suggested, alcohol will cause the core body temperature to drop where is the heat going? The answer is “to the skin”, alcohol is a vasodilator, drinking it causes your capillaries to open giving a warm flush of blood. I suspect that this is exactly what you need if you are an elephant in danger of getting frost-bitten ears.

The Russians know a thing or two about the cold.