Tail-Swatting

Using the tail to forcefully swat or hit an elephant behind it to indicate that the elephant should back off, or to gently feel what is behind it. In rare cases using the tail to forcefully swat or hit an inanimate object like a tree. In Movement Space & Leadership and Social Play contexts all age/sex groups except infants may be observed to Tail-Swat; in a Calf Reassurance & Protection context both adult and adolescent females Tail-Swat; in a Calf Nourishment & Weaning context adult females Tail-Swat, while estrous females Tail-Swat in a Courtship context.

References: Kahl & Armstrong 2000; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2011; O’Connell-Rodwell et al 2011 [Tail to body]. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Calf Nourishment & Weaning, Calf Reassurance & Protection, Courtship, Foraging & Comfort Technique, Movement, Space & Leadership, Novel & Idiosyncratic, Social Play, Submissive

Tail-Swatting

Context: Movement Space & Leadership (1)

Two males are walking along - one is bearing down on the other. The male in front Tail-Swats the male behind as he begins a Reach-Over. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Movement Space & Leadership (2)

The behaviour in this clip takes place after a long period when matriarch gf0070 has been reacting apprehensively to our presence and had led her family away from us. She has followed the others to a mud wallow. Adult male, Aloisio, gm0040 is there. She turns around and Back-Toward him and then Tail-Swats him repeatedly and deliberately. Why? He is also swatting though it looks to be more for a scratching purpose than at her. She then turns to face us again - Standing-Tall in an apprehensive way. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Movement Space & Leadership (3)

The Mabenzi family is walking along. A small male calf eating vegetation, drops it and then reaches Trunk-to-Mouth of juvenile male. At the same time a juvenile female in front is Tail-Swatting the juvenile male. The Juvenile male scoops up the tail of juvenile female with his tusk and holds it there in a kind of Grasp-Tail. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Movement Space & Leadership (4)

A 4 year old calf hurries toward a young male who has a large branch and tries to Steal-Food. Note that this is the 3rd calf who has come rapidly this way. The male turns away dragging the branch with him and the calf attempts to Steal-Food again. The male takes a few more steps and the calf gives up, finding that the male has left some of the branchlets behind. The male uses his tail and hind foot to Kick-Back and Tail-Swat at the calf. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Movement Space & Leadership (5)

Grumpy Grandma, f0412, and family are with another family browsing. Lorato is moving in on another female of the same age who Kicks-Back to try to keep her away. Lorato pushes through and the female Orients-Away and uses Tail-Swatting to monitor where Lorato is and to warn her to keep away. Lorato continues and then goes to test the genitals (Trunk-to-Genitals) of adult female f0311 who also Kicks-Back and Tail-Swats at Lorato. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Movement Space & Leadership (6)

Little E is 10 days old. He sees matriarch, Grumpy Grandma, f0412, and walks eagerly over to her. She feels him behind her and kicks him away with a Kick-Back and begins Tail-Swatting, hitting Mama Little E as she comes to retrieve Little E. Mama emits a Coo-Rumble to Little E and use her Trunk-to-Genitals, Trunk-to-Mouth, Guiding him back to her. During her touching he emits a Husky-Cry. When she touches his mouth and he emits High-Intensity-Husky-Cry and she uses her trunk-tip over his mouth, he emits High-Intensity Husky-Cry for 3rd time. f0412 continues to Tail-Swat. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Movement Space & Leadership (7)

This gang of males has been playing but now the older male seems uninterested in more games. When a 4 year old male reaches Trunk-to-Genitals and tries to Reach-over him the older male begins Tail-Swatting and then moves away. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Social Play (1)

In slo-mo: Ttwo adult males are engaged in a bout of Sparring. gm0016 Advances-Toward gm0049 who Retreats-From, and uses Tail-Swatting to check how close gm0016 is. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Social Play (2)

Two adolescent males at play, one Runs-After the other who Runs-Away. The pursuer Grasps-Tail of the other and Tusks him as they run. The fleeing male Tail-Swats him. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Social Play (3)

The male in the water is larger and has been engaged in boisterous play for a while. A new smaller male arrives at the bank of the water hole. The male in the water comes over to meet him and invite him to play, but the younger male is skeptical and stands facing him tentatively. The larger male reaches up and touches him Trunk-to-Face exploring his Temporal-Gland area. The younger male sniffs toward him. The larger male hauls himself out of the water doing a mild Head-Toss and then reaches Trunk-to-Face again. The younger male reciprocates with a Trunk-to-Mouth. But when the bigger male comes up on the bank the younger male Orients-Away. The older male reaches Trunk-to-Genitals a couple of times while the younger males Tail-Swats him audibly. (Amboseli, Kenya)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Social Play (4)

Two males are Standing by our car studying us and interacting in a playful way with one another and Leaning against one another. In this clip the male in front Tail-Swats the male behind, who gently Tusks him. (Amboseli, Kenya)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Submissive (1)

Qoral has a newborn infant and Qasima's 10 year old daughter Qaskasi wants to be close to it all the time. Qoral is not very happy about this and keeps trying to keep her away. In this clip Qaskasi Backs-Toward Qoral and gives her a couple of Body-Nudges with her rump. Qoral backs up as if to block her, though this is very subtle. The Qoral very clearly Body-Nudges her away. Qaskasi begins to Tail-Swat her and Qoral Tail-Swats her back. Kaskazi Tail-Swats her again and then Kicks-Back at her. Qoral responds with an exaggerated Kick-Back. Qaskasi moves a little away and Waits. She begins to Tail-Swat again. And then Backs-Toward Qoral again still Tail-Swatting. (Amboseli, Kenya)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Submissive (2)

Ten year old Qaskazi joins matriarch Qoral and her infant at a mud wallow. Qaskasi is very eager to take care of the infant and Qoral doesn't want her help. Qaskazi has been bothering her and does so again here. She walks up and then turns to Rump-Present and then as if to get Qoral's attention begins Tail-Swatting her. Having watched her do this over the course of the morning and knowing the drama that takes place later, we think this is a bit like 'hey, hey, I am here, can't I please look after the baby, please, pretty please.' (Amboseli, Kenya)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Submissive (3)

This clip takes place after Qadija Mates and there is a Mating-Pandemonium, during which Qoral's infant gets knocked over. After much comforting he begins to Suckle with audible sucking sounds. The females are still giving Coo- and other Rumbles. Qaskazi, the adolescent female who inadvertently knocked the infant over Backs-Toward Qoral and Kicks-Back and Tail-Swats trying to get her attention or, seemingly, in an appeasement gesture. Qoral eventually tires of it and touches her Trunk-to-Genitals - a conciliatory gesture and then tries to Grasp-Tail. (Amboseli, Kenya)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Advertisement & Attraction (1)

Pictured are the Mabenzi family members and musth male, Gogogo. Gogogo walks while Trunk-Dragging and approaches Valente as if to test her. She is aware of his approach and Looks-Back at him and begins Tail-Swatting him. He pauses to Sniff-Ground, but then follows her and tests her Trunk-to-Genitals. She Tail-Swats him again. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Advertisement & Attraction (2)

A young male approaches large adult female, gf0061, who is drinking. He walks very purposefully toward her while she waits. She Orients-away and he tests her Trunk-to-Genitals. As he tests her she Tail-Swats him and Head-Shakes vigorously. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Calf Nourishment & Weaning (1)

Ruby's 6 year male has been trying to Suckle for a while and has been Roaring, Crying and complaining. He leans into her on her left side and she Kicks-Back at him. He goes around the other side to try and she keeps him at bay by using a Body-Nudge and by using her tail to swat him (Tail-Swatting). He leans back and gives a Grumble-Rumble. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Calf Reassurance & Protection (1)

The scene shows members of the C family who are in the company of tuskless adult female Nómada, gf0003. A tuskless juvenile female with her is walking toward the camera followed by a 6 month old female calf. She uses her tail - Tail-Swatting - to monitor the location and of the calf.

The calf lies down on the ground on a termite mound and as she gets up the juvenile female again uses Tail-Swatting to check that the calf is OK. As the calf runs up alongside her, she reaches her trunk back Trunk-to-Face to again reassure the calf. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Calf Reassurance & Protection (2)

Big Mama is browsing and her calf is dozing leaning her head against Big Mama's hind leg. Big Mama pauses as if sniffing back to her calf for a moment before taking another trunkful. Then about to take a step forward she gives her calf a gentle Tail-Swat which seems to have alerted the calf to impending movement. The calf follows her mother as Big Mama tries another Tail-Swat. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Foraging & Comfort Technique (1)

A close-up of the vulva/clitoris of f0412 - and how she uses her tail to swat an itchy spot. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Novel & Idiosyncratic (1)

Gina stands under tree and loudly slaps her tail against the tree more than 20 times. Difficult wind and a plane overhead but the slapping sound is audible. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Novel & Idiosyncratic (2)

Gina stands under tree and loudly slaps her tail against the tree more than 20 times. Difficult wind and a plane overhead, but the slapping sound is audible. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)

Tail-Swatting

Context: Courtship (1)

Pascal is in musth, Amparo is in estrus and they are in a Consortship. This is the 4th day that she is in estrus and she is at her peak. They have just Mated and Amparo sticks close to her consort. A young male reaches Trunk-to-Genitals and she Kicks-Back at him a few times and Tail-Swats at him and then steps forward to get him away from her. (Amboseli, Kenya)