King Tusk

Reprinted from the 117th Edition Souvenir Program and Magazine, 1987.)

For nearly twelve decades, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus® has brought the world's most extraordinary animal attractions to the audiences of America.

This year, The Greatest Show On Earth® takes pride in presenting the most amazing living creature ever exhibited - or even dreamed about - King Tusk, The Crown Jewel of India, the largest land mammal traveling the Earth today!

Born in the lush, exotic jungles of Asia, this mightiest, most mammoth of mastodons boasts a pair of truly titanic tusks - each measuring over six and a half feet in length and more than a foot in diameter.

"King Tusk is a phenomenal discovery, one of the greatest attractions in Circus history," states producer Kenneth Feld. "Children Of All Ages no longer need to look to animation and special effects to see the amazing and surreal. With their own eyes they can now see what previously existed only in their imaginations."

The immense size and bulk of the prodigious pachyderm posed unparalleled challenges for the Circus logistics and creative staffs. Too huge to travel coast-to-coast aboard The Greatest Show On Earth's own railroad train, King Tusk and his trainer, Lee Keener, tour America in a specially designed and custom built tractor-trailer.

For his breathtaking bow in the Circus performance, as superstar of an extravagant, $4 million production spectacle, The Big Show's design staff created for King Tusk a glorious, gilded robe, weighing 1,200 pounds and requiring twelve attendants.

Not since the immortal Jumbo a century ago has The Greatest Show On Earth offered its audiences a living, breathing creature so wondrous, so totally astonishing. Today, you will witness a miraculous milestone in Circus history as, live, before your eyes, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus presents the utterly unbelievable apex of animal astonishment - the colossal King Tusk!

(The following "Ten-Ton Facts About Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Mighty King Tusk" were part of King Tusk's press materials during his years with The Greatest Show On Earth.)

  • KING TUSK weighs 14,762 pounds, is 12 feet 6 inches tall and is 27 feet wide.
  • KING TUSK has a 6-foot-6-inch-long left tusk and a 7-foot right tusk.
  • KING TUSK's tusks are sanded and polished daily to make them shiny and smooth.
  • KING TUSK's tusks grow three inches every year.
  • KING TUSK eats 150 pounds of hay and drinks about 100 gallons of water a day.
  • KING TUSK's favorite food is watermelon, and he can eat eight in one day!
  • KING TUSK can eat a box of 120 apples and a 50-pound bag of carrots for dessert.
  • KING TUSK travels in a specially designed and customized 48-foot, 13 ½-foot-high truck.
  • KING TUSK's teeth can weigh up to ten pounds. Each!
  • KING TUSK enjoys painting with his trunk.
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