A swinging or tossing of the trunk in the direction of an adversary typically while simultaneously blowing forcefully out through the trunk. Elephants may swing their trunks at other elephants or at smaller animals (e.g. egrets; ground-hornbills; warthogs, people) as a threat, to chase them away, or in play. Forward-Trunk-Swing may be employed by all age sex groups.

References: Kühme 1961; Douglas-Hamilton 1972: ch 6 [Forward-Trunk-Swish], 100; Poole 1987a; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2004, Poole & Granli 2011; O’Connell-Rodwell et al 2011 [Trunk throw]. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Aggressive, Attacking & Mobbing, Conflict & Confrontation, Social Play


Context: Aggressive (1)

A juvenile male (left) and an adolescent male (right) stand facing one another. The juvenile male is interested in what the older male is doing and reaching Trunk-Toward him. It looks as if he may be Soliciting-Food.

The older male threatens him first Ear-Folding and then stepping forward with a Forward-Trunk-Swing, Slapping him hard with his trunk. The younger male Backs-Away a little. But then he approaches again and extends his Trunk-Toward the older male who Forward-Trunk-Swings at him a second time. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Aggressive (2)

A couple of families have met and are bathing in a pool. As the elephants begin to depart the female on the left Ear-Folds and Advances-Toward a female from another family who Retreats-From and disappears from view. We see the aggressor pause and Orient-Away and then Orient-Toward and stand with Chin-Out in an aggressive posture as if she is receiving a counter threat. She continues Advancing-Toward and then suddenly turns and Runs-Away, splashing into the water as a third, larger female Charges into view, Forward-Trunk-Swings and Trumpet-Blasts at her in threat. This larger female is likely the matriarch, mother or close ally of the second female. The female who was chased back into the waters waits with J-Trunk and then turns and follows the others out of the water. (Amboseli, Kenya)