During Sparring, Dueling, Greeting or during the formation of Coalitions, such as High-Fiving or End-Zone-Dance, elephants may click or clank their tusks together. In affiliative and coalition building contexts this has been referred to as Tusk-Clicking, but the sound is much more of a clank during Sparring or Dueling. In the former two or more closely allied elephants may stand either parallel or face-to-face, adopting Head-Raising, Open-Mouth-to-Open-Mouth, and Trunk-Twining may (apparently purposefully) click their tusks together.
This form of Tusk-Clicking or Clanking occurs during intense social interactions such as High-Fiving, Bonding-Ceremonies or during interactions in which an elephant wishes to express solidarity with a friend or family member such as during a Greeting, Coalition Building or an End-Zone-Dance. In this context the participants are adult or adolescent females. Tusk-Clanking also occurs during Sparring when two males, or a male and a female, stand face to face, also Head-Raising, Open-Mouth-to-Open-Mouth, and Trunk-Twining, their tusks clicking together. Further, elephants will clank their tusks together as weapons as they Duel.
References: Douglas-Hamilton 1972: ch 6; Moss 1988; Payne 2003; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2011. [Trunk-Clicking] (Full reference list)
This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Affiliative, Aggressive, Coalition Building, Social Play