Raising the tail. The tail of a relaxed elephant hangs down. Fearful, highly playful or sexually or socially aroused elephants typically raise their tails. All age/sex groups Tail-Raise in Vigilant and Avoidance contexts; female adults, adolescents and calves Tail-Raise in Affiliative and Courtship contexts and female adults and adolescents Tail-Raise in Coalition Building contexts.

References: Douglas-Hamilton 1972: ch 6; Moss 1988; Poole 1996: 41, 154; Poole 1999a; Payne, 1998; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2004; Poole & Granli 2011. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Affiliative, Avoidance, Calf Reassurance & Protection, Coalition Building, Social Play, Vigilance


Context: Social Play (1)

An adolescent male Floppy-Runs at the car he lowers his head adopting a floppy-bodied Bow-Neck-Charge position and shakes his head from side to side displaying Head-Waggling. As he charges he Play-Trumpets. As he runs he Tail-Raises in excitement and as he stops he Kick-Dust. As he departs he swings his back legs out as if to kick vegetation, but misses. Then he Floppy-Runs off Tail-Raising in another direction.

One of the filmmakers is concerned that this is a serious Charge and there is an ongoing discussion. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Social Play (2)

Two 1 year old calves play together chasing one another at a Floppy-Run in and out of the Croton bushes, Tail-Raising, Bush-Bashing and Standing-Tall and making Pulsated-Play-Trumpets. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)