1 rabbit 6 elephants- How to Answer this riddle?

1 rabbit 6 elephants


Riddles and little jokes have always served as good company to those who enjoy simple humor. The ‘one rabbit saw six elephants’ riddle is one such piece that brought about a massive wave of enthusiasm in the past year. Everybody enjoys a little challenge and this riddle gives you just the right amount of that. It requires you to use your cerebral intelligence while also playing around with your grammatical eliteness through a few simple sentences. This article breaks down the riddle and helps you understand it better. Let’s know How to Answer this riddle ‘1 rabbit 6 elephants’?

The riddle

1 rabbit saw 6 elephants while going to the river. Every elephant saw 2 monkeys going towards the river. Every monkey holds 1 parrot in its hands. How many animals are going towards the river?


  • The answer to this riddle is one that can be found simply by focusing on the grammar used in the sentences detailing the direction of travel. 
  • However, as opposed to the frequent answer of 11, the answer has been logically deduced to be 3. 
  • Here’s an explanation
  • There was one rabbit and it saw six elephants while going towards the river. That means that the elephants were not going towards the river. They were simply seen by the rabbit as it was going. 
  • Each elephant saw two monkeys. Considering all the elephants saw the same two monkeys, the total number of monkeys is two. 
  • Each monkey had one parrot in its hand. But, a parrot is a bird and not an animal. Therefore, the total number of animals going towards the river is 3. 
  • A common mistake that is made by everyone is to double the number of monkeys seen by the elephants. Another one is to consider the six elephants as well. The parrots were also considered in the final count owing to the general misconception of animals and birds being considered under the same category. 
  • The riddle plays strictly by the rules of the English language and not much with mathematics. The directions alone can help one get to the desired answer but what stands in the way is one’s understanding of the sentence in itself. 

Alternative conclusions

Several other answers have claimed to be correct but only one holds good. This will help everyone analyze and understand the problems that were being faced by them as they tried to solve the riddle. 

However, here are a select few. 

  • 5 animals

In this case, one is likely to have considered the rabbit, the two monkeys, and the two parrots that were in the hands of the monkeys. 

This conclusion has been reached after considering the two parrots, not as birds but as animals which is again a very common misconception.

  • 31 animals

In this case, one is likely to have considered all the animals that were included in the riddle irrespective of their direction.

This is how such a conclusion has been obtained. 1 rabbit sees 6 elephants. That is a total of 7 animals. 

Each elephant sees two monkeys. Instead of considering just two, they have taken two monkeys per elephant. So that gives 12 monkeys. Bringing the total to 19.

In the next part of the question, each monkey is carrying one parrot in its hands. That’s 12 parrots in total. Giving a total of 31 animals. 

Such a conclusion is illogical but the effort is to be appreciated.

  • 19 animals

In this case, one has considered all the animals except for the parrots that were in the hands of the monkeys.

One rabbit and six elephants give a total of 7 animals

They have further considered 2 monkeys for each elephant. So that gives us another 12 monkeys. That is a total of 19 animals.

However, here, they have not considered the parrots in the category of animals.

  • 9 animals

In this case, one has considered all the animals except the parrots but the count of the monkeys is different.

One rabbit and the six elephants add up to 7 animals. 

Then they have considered just the two monkeys that the elephants see. So that’s a total of 9 animals.

They have not counted the parrots as a part of the animal category but they failed to differentiate the directions that the elephants and the rabbit are headed towards. 

  • 7 animals

In this case, one has considered the rabbit and the elephants but has not considered the parrots and the monkeys. 


1. Since the direction of the elephants is not considered, is it not possible that they saw different monkeys?

No, it cannot be considered that there are more monkeys because the riddle itself is based on an assumption. If the question does not mention other monkeys, considering that leverage is futile.

2. Since monkeys do not have hands and have paws instead, could it be argued that the question in itself is incorrect?

The question is clearly an assumption. However, even if such a problem were to arise, there will be no change in the answer because the parrots are not a part of it. But since monkeys are higher mammals, it may be considered that their paws do in fact carry out the functions of a hand. This gives it a reason to be called one. 

3. Is there a particular reason why the numbers in the questions weren’t spelled out?

That was to help the reader differentiate between the number and the language part of the question. 


  • A riddle that can catch the eyes of its reader is one that is informative and attractive. 
  • Even if a riddle is unclear, that is not a loose end. It grabs the attention of several others.
  • Human beings are advanced beings who enjoy healthy competition, therefore they will be fascinated by riddles such as these. 
  • This particular riddle has a very distinct format and therefore it was able to draw the attention of a massive number of people. 
  • A riddle doesn’t necessarily have any rules. Even if a riddle is long, it will be enjoyed by all if the solution to it requires you to think outside the box. 
1 rabbit 6 elephants- How to Answer this riddle?

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