A powerful, relatively long and seemingly sustained, Trumpet lasting 1-1.5 seconds in duration produced when an elephant or group of elephants confronts a predator, or other perceived threat. An individual may Advance-Toward or Charge while Trumpeting. Referred to as a Trumpet-Blast these calls are intended to intimidate, and, typically, Charges that are associated with them end abruptly. Yet, in our experience, it is wise not to assume that a Trumpeting and Charging elephant will not make good her threat.

Cavorting elephants Charging at or Running-After other species during Social Play (such as rabbits, hyenas, wildebeests, monkeys, or the human observer) typically Trumpet-Blast, too. While such Trumpets produced in the two contexts are similar, those produced when confronting a serious threat are more powerful and it is certainly possible to hear a difference between the two contexts. We previously called those produced during play Mock-Charge-Play-Trumpets (Poole, 2011).

References: Poole & Granli 2004; Poole 2011 [including Mock-Charge-Play-Trumpet]. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Aggressive, Attacking & Mobbing, Calf Reassurance & Protection, Social Play


Context: Calf Reassurance & Protection (1)

Note: Powerful elephant calls! Little E is one month old. As the clip starts he is seen being looked after by allomothers V-Notch and Lorato. He becomes curious about the filmmakers car and walks toward it. V-notch, who is ahead, becomes alarmed and turns back to protect him Ear-Spreading and briefly Trunk-Sucking. Little E rushes past them to the car. Bob says softly "Hey, Little E" as he (we believe) touches the car. The two aunties freak out and give a series of Trumpet-Blasts.

Little E is alarmed - caught between his noisy aunties and the car. He is too close to see what is happening, but we can see him Tail-Raising and see the feet of his allomothers moving back and forth. His mother, Mama Little E, rushes over to join the allomothers and manages to retrieve him. They all Shepherd him back to safety, Backing-Away while Standing-Tall and his mother uses her trunk to gently move him away. They rumble and Bunch around Little E with Mama Little E and V-Notch on either side and Lorato Sashaying in to fill in the gap between Little E and the vehicle. They continue to Back-Away and then, when little E tries to Suckle, his mother uses her trunk to purposefully lead his mouth to her breast (Trunk-to-Breast). Lorato Head-Shakes. Then they walk away past car. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)