An attentive elephant playing with an object in a desultory or distracted fashion. Performed in conflict situations such as in Aggressive, Submissive, Conflict & Confrontation, Courtship, and Social Play contexts when an individual shows incompatible tendencies, such as fleeing versus attacking.
For example, by males during Sparring or Escalated-Contests, or by young males near an estrous female who are “pretending” to do something else so as not to provoke aggression by the Guarding male. Displayed by elephants, particularly adult females, during Conflict & Confrontation when Contemplating whether or not to attack. Also displayed by elephants of both sexes when Queuing-Up - waiting their turn at a waterhole or fallen tree or other scarce resource.
References: Poole & Granli 2021. (Full reference list)
This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Movement, Space & Leadership