A powerful, relatively long and seemingly sustained, Trumpet lasting 1-1.5 seconds in duration produced when an elephant or group of elephants confronts a predator, or other perceived threat. An individual may Advance-Toward or Charge while Trumpeting. Referred to as a Trumpet-Blast these calls are intended to intimidate, and, typically, Charges that are associated with them end abruptly. Yet, in our experience, it is wise not to assume that a Trumpeting and Charging elephant will not make good her threat.

Cavorting elephants Charging at or Running-After other species during Social Play (such as rabbits, hyenas, wildebeests, monkeys, or the human observer) typically Trumpet-Blast, too. While such Trumpets produced in the two contexts are similar, those produced when confronting a serious threat are more powerful and it is certainly possible to hear a difference between the two contexts. We previously called those produced during play Mock-Charge-Play-Trumpets (Poole, 2011).

References: Poole & Granli 2004; Poole 2011 [including Mock-Charge-Play-Trumpet]. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Aggressive, Attacking & Mobbing, Calf Reassurance & Protection, Social Play


Context: Social Play (1)

As 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 Head-Waggling. He gives a Pulsated-Trumpet and a Trumpet-Blast. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Social Play (2)

This juvenile male has been playing in the water with another juvenile male until they were frightened by hippos and came rushing out. Now he Redirects-Aggression and chases birds instead. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Social Play (3)

A juvenile female is at the head of her family walking along the edge of the KH4 Waterhole. She Charges at the Egyptian geese with Head-Low and Trunk-Coiled and gives a Trumpet-Blast. As her family catches up she again Charges Head-Low and Trunk-Coiled. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Social Play (4)

A male juvenile about 6 has been left behind. He runs to catch up with his family, scattering egrets with some Trumpet-Blasts as he runs. (Amboseli, Kenya)