Rubbing the head, ears, legs or body against a tree trunk, log, stump or boulder, or on another elephant, often after Mud-Wallowing or Mud-Splashing. Musth males use Rubbing to mark a tree or the ground (when mud wallowing) with Temporal-Gland-Secretion and as a visual display. Rubbing may be so vigorous that the male departs with bark and debris on the side of his face. Dissected temporal glands have been found to have pieces of bark embedded deep inside them.

All age/sex groups engage in Rubbing in a Foraging & Comfort Technique context, while only musth males engage in Rubbing in an Advertisement & Attraction context.

References: Douglas-Hamilton 1972: 83 illustration; Poole 1982: 51; Poole 1987a; Kahl & Armstrong 2002; Poole & Granli 2003; [Marking]. (Full reference list)

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


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (1)

Viajante is acting as if he is in musth. He walks away from a mud wallow Trunk-Dragging and looks to be Tracking. He makes a little Ear-Wave type movement. Then he stops to Listen adopting a J-Trunk.
As this clip begins, he continues and Rubs on tree, while doing so he Trunk-Bounces in a manner we haven't seen before that we can remember. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (2)

A musth male pauses to Rub his Temporal-Glands and body on a tree and then continues on his way. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)