One of the first references made in English literature to the noble elephant can be found in two publications, the ‘Histories of Serpents’ and the ‘Historie of Foure-Footed Beasts’. Both contain references to real and mythical creatures compiled by Edward Topsell. These were published during the reign of Elizabeth I when exploration around the world was dangerous and exciting, proving the basis for modern zoology. The elephant was included. Previous reports had expressed the notion that the animal’s limbs had no joints. Topsell disagreed with the earlier report and put forward a theory on the mating behaviour, believing that the animal would always turn towards the east although the explanation as to why was not forthcoming.