Using the trunk to briefly grasp the leg of another. This behavior is adopted by different age/sex groups in different contexts. It is, perhaps, most commonly observed in Social Play when an individual, typically a calf, juvenile or adolescent tries to stop the forward movement of a playmate.

During Courtship, males may grasp the leg of an estrous female to slow her forward movement, so that he may attempt to Mount her. Begging calves may grasp their mother's hind-leg to try to get her attention or to persuade her to stop so that they may Suckle.

References: Poole & Granli 2021. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Calf Nourishment & Weaning, Courtship, Social Play


Context: Social Play (1)

Two one year old male calves are at play, one following the other. The male behind Grasp-Leg of the male ahead, who turns around to Push the male behind. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Social Play (2)

Two adolescent males are engaged in a bout of Sparring during which one male is following the other. The larger male behind tries to Grasp-Leg of the smaller male in front. He is unsuccessful and the younger male walks quickly away. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Social Play (3)

After a bout of Sparring, the smaller of the two young males stands facing away from his partner and checks the tip of his own tusk (Check-Tusk). Meanwhile the larger male has his trunk around the younger male's hind leg in a Grasp-Leg. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Calf Nourishment & Weaning (1)

A one year old tailless male calf has been Soliciting-Suckling, while his mother moved on. The calf follows his mother and grasps her leg with his trunk (Grasp-Leg), and then walks forward to Suckle. It seem calf was using Grasp-Leg and Trunk-to-Genitals to get his mother's attention. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Calf Nourishment & Weaning (2)

A 6 year old male want to Suckle but his mother is on the move. He follows behind her and uses his trunk to grasp her hind legs. He Grasps-Leg very gently a couple of times she continue to walk and gives a Let's-Go-Rumble as he follows after her with Periscope-Trunk. He picks up speed and as the camera pans out we see him on her other side reaching for her breast. She does not stop. Note the commentary refers to other elephants. (Amboseli, Kenya)