Holding the trunk in a relaxed position (hanging down, resting on the ground or over a trunk), but with the tip of the trunk curled under and around such that the trunk fingers point in the direction of an object of interest (often behind or to its side). As the individual sniffs the fingers of the trunk can be seen to partially open and close. This behavior is a component of a number of Attentive, Vigilant behavioral constellations. J-Trunk is a subtle form of sniffing and appears to be used when the individual would not necessarily have reason to make others aware of his or her object of interest or plan.

For example, J-Trunk is typical of a young male around an estrus female, who may wish not to alert higher ranking males of his intentions. In contrast, Periscope-Trunk, Trunk-Sweep and Horizontal-Trunk are conspicuous movements and typically cause other elephants to take notice and adopt similar behavior and appear to be done to draw the attention of others.

J-Trunk occurs in all age/sex groups except young calves and infants.

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

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Ambivalent, Attacking & Mobbing, Attentive, Conflict & Confrontation, Vigilance


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (1)

Titus is in a group with an estrous female and Guarding musth male, who are out of view on the left. Notice how he uses a J-Trunk to monitor their position and activity - and his potential mating possibilities. This rather subtle form of sniffing is typical of males in the presence of an estrous female and guarding male. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (2)

This is adult male, Viajante. He is acting as if he is in musth. He has been mud-splashing and then pauses Listening and adopts a J-Trunk. He walks away from mud splashing Trunk-Dragging. Then he looks to be Tracking sniffing the ground and using a J-Trunk type sniff. Viajante does a little Ear-Wave type movement. He stops to Listen and adopts a J-Trunk again. He Rubs on a tree and, while doing so, he Trunk-Bounces. Prior to walking away we see him J-Trunk again. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)