Bending or kneeling down and tusking the ground and, often, uplifting clods of soil and vegetation. When elephants engage in Mud-Wallowing they often Tusk-Ground. This is particularly true of Mud-Wallowing musth males who will engage in an exaggerated form of Tusk-Ground along with other components of a musth male display. In an Aggressive context Tusk-Ground is seen in the manoeuvring between two males during an Escalated-Contest, apparently as a demonstration of ‘look what I will do with you’.

In an Attacking & Mobbing context an elephant may Kneel-Down and Tusk a person or other animal into the ground to kill or maim it. During Social Play elephants engage in a gentle form of both Kneel-Down and Tusk-Ground, behaviors that encourage other elephants to Climb-Upon.

References: Kühme 1961; Poole 1982: 51, 57; Moss 1988; Poole 1987a; Poole 1987c; Poole 1996: 159; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2004; Poole & Granli 2011. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Aggressive, Foraging & Comfort Technique, Social Play


Context: Social Play (1)

A 6 year old female from Selengei's family is down on her knees engaged in Tusk-Ground. A one year old calf is behind her while the rest of the family is moving about around her while foraging. Selengei stops next to her as if Waiting and the 1 year old calf comes to stand next to her, as if about to engage in play with her. But the female gets to her feet and Head-Shakes. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Social Play (2)

Two juveniles from Big Mama's family are engaged in a bout of play. As the clip starts the male calf on the left is in a Sitting position and the juvenile female on the right is Kneeling-Down. They purposefully lean towards one another, pressing their bodies together. The male Reaches-Over the female and she Tusks-Ground first on one side and then the other, and then flops her body sideways and kicks her hind leg in the air. She wiggles about for a bit and then Stands up. The male calf also Stands and then gives her a little Push. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Social Play (3)

Elephants begin to depart from a deep pool where they have been playing and Bathing. An adult female begins to Splash-with-Trunk, Kick-Back and Tusk-Ground with exuberance, before lying down in the water. (Amboseli, Kenya)