Self-directed touching of the face (mouth, ear, trunk, tusk or temporal gland) or chest, with the fingers or tip of the trunk. Very often in the context of an interaction with another elephant, but may be seen in any context where an elephant appears uneasy or stressed. Likely analogous to the way we might scratch our head or rub our face when feeling socially or otherwise uncomfortable or unsure.

References: Kühme 1961; Poole 1999a; Poole & Granli 2003; Kahl & Armstrong 2000 [Touch-Face]. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Affiliative, Ambivalent, Conflict & Confrontation, Social Play, Vigilance


Context: Social Play (1)

Medium size male gm0016 and a smaller male are Sparring. Both take a break to Touch-Self. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)