updated 04/17/2009 AT 5:41 PM ET
•originally published 04/20/2009 AT 7:45 AM ET
Did you hear the one about the painting elephant? Well, in central England, it’s not a joke – it’s a phenomenon! Five, a 16-year-old African elephant living in the West Midland Safari Park in Worcestershire, has taken up painting as a hobby, creating more than 50 colorful works that, so far, have sold for upwards of 100 (nearly $150).
Bob Lawrence, director of wildlife at the park, tells the Birmingham Post that Five discovered her passion for painting two years ago on a whim. “Every morning after the others had their baths, we put hoof oil on their toenails with a paintbrush, and one morning she picked the brush up herself and decided to have a go,” he shares. “We thought we would extend that and we put an easel in front of her with a canvas and a selection of brushes to paint. She took to painting like a duck to water.”
Five picks up her brush when prompted with the command “paint,” and sets it down when she is told “okay.” But reportedly, she keeps painting with various colors until she’s completely satisfied with her creation!