© 2020 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

If An Elephant Can Wear Teva Sandals, What Shoes Suit Other Animals?

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Shanthi is a 41-year-old Asian elephant who lives at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. And Shanthi has a problem a lot of 40-somethings have. She has arthritis. It's changed the way she walks. So her feet get cracks and sores. Medication helps.

But how do you keep ointment on the soles of an elephant's feet? This is not an elephant joke - custom boots, of course. Teva, which makes those strappy Velcro sandals on the feet of so many summer travelers, has made bespoke footwear for the ailing pachyderm - size 20 with E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E. That's 12 E's.

Turns out that Teva is bootmaker to other animal stars, including a humble penguin named Lucky at the Santa Barbara Zoo who needed a sandal to correct a limb.

But it made us wonder, if Teva boots are a good fit for elephants and penguins, what might other animals wear on their feet, paws and claws? Our friends on Facebook had suggestions. Jennifer Davis in northern Kentucky said...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JENNIFER DAVIS: I think hand-me-down trainers from the Russian track team would be a good fit for the cheetahs.

SIMON: Andrea Hunt of Louisville went a little wild when she considered the possibilities.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ANDREA HUNT: OK. So first I thought of flats for cats. And then I thought of loafers for sloths. And then I thought of Christian Louboutins for baboons because they're both red on the bottom. And the last thing I thought of was topsiders for a rhinoceros because who can imagine a rhino on a sailboat?

SIMON: I can. Rhino ahoy. And Dave Pepper suggested roller skates for buffalo. He says he makes no apologies to Roger Miller for that one.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOU CAN'T ROLLER SKATE IN A BUFFALO HERD")

ROGER MILLER: (Singing) You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd, can't roller skate in a buffalo herd. You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd. But you can be happy if you've a mind to. You can't take a shower in a parakeet cage, can't take a shower in a parakeet cage, can't take a shower in a parakeet cage. But you can be happy if you've a mind to. All you got to do is put your mind to it, knuckle down, buckle down, do it, do it, do it. Well, you can't go swimming in a baseball pool. You can't go swimming in a baseball pool. You can't go swimming in a baseball pool. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.