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Chili Pepper Fences Keep Elephants At Bay

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Farmers in East Africa are combating elephants by rubbing chili peppers and engine oil on their fences.
Farmers in East Africa are combating elephants by rubbing chili peppers and engine oil on their fences.

Elephants never forget -- especially about the burning intensity of chili peppers.

And that fiery fact is helping farmers in Tanzania, who are being forced to deal with rebounding elephant populations coming onto their land and eating up their crops.

That's a big problem since the giant pachyderms can eat up to 660 pounds of food a day, according to Newser.

Electric fences have been deemed too dangerous and expensive, but farmers have found good results from a lower-tech solution: chili peppers mixed with engine oil -- a spicy concoction that sticks to fences, even in heavy rain.

"[The elephants] will mull it over and often circle two to three times," farmer Said Longwa, 52, told the Wall Street Journal. "But once they get a real whiff of the chili, they snuffle and sneeze."

Even better: They leave.

The spicy strategy is being rolled out across Tanzania and other parts of East Africa, but since it's possible the elephants will adjust to the chili, experts are studying other methods to truncate the animals' damage, according to Inquisitr.

Some of the methods include putting radio collars on problem elephants, and setting up lines of beehives spaced around fields.

Elephant expert Lucas Malugu told the Wall Street Journal that pachyderms hate being stung by bees flying up their trunks so the beehive barracks are set up. When an elephant goes where it shouldn't, the villagers "shake the hive and release the bees, sending the elephants running."

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