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: Foraging & Comfort Technique (1)

Little E is 16 days old. His family has just crossed the river and on the way up his mother slipped and fell on him. After this incident Latino turned and Redirected-Aggression and Scrape-Ground. We believe it is just a coincidence that now Little E Scrapes-Ground. It almost looks like he is making a place to lie down (though we have never seen elephants prepare the ground for lying down). It is not Little E's day, as when he lies down he rolls over into a ditch and has to be Helped to his feet by his mother. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)