Using the tail to forcefully swat or hit an elephant behind it to indicate that the elephant should back off, tap an elephant to ask for its attention, or to gently check 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


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)