A vigorous scraping, ‘pawing’ or trampling of the ground with a forefoot, often churning up dust and debris. This behavior is typically seen when an elephant is conflicted and is a form of Displacement-Behavior. It has been recorded at elephant Births, when elephants feel under threat, and when elephants have killed a person.

References: Poole & Granli 2003 [Trample-Ground]. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Birth, Calf Reassurance & Protection, Conflict & Confrontation, Death, Foraging & Comfort Technique, Social Play


Context: Calf Reassurance & Protection (1)

Allomother, Lorato, defends Little E when he is 5 days old. She is concerned by the presence of the vehicle and exhibits Standing-Tall and Ear-Spreading as well as scraping the ground, Scrape-Ground, with her foot in a cross between Kick-Dust and Foot-Scuffing. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Calf Reassurance & Protection (2)

Little E is 16 days old. His family is trying to get across a rocky river bed. Mama Little E slips and falls and lands on Little E. Little E roars, someone snorts and females rumble and display Tail-Raising. We see V-Notch, left, whirl around and Redirect-Aggression. She and Latino (right) display Ear-Spreading and Standing-Tall and they both Head-Dip-Touch-Ground as they check to see what the problem was - check out the rocks as if to see what went wrong. Latino (right) also Scrapes-Ground. Latino and Mama Little E touch (Trunk-to-Body) Little E.. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)