Often repeated wrinkling or ‘scrunching’ up of the trunk and forcing air through it to produce a ‘squelching’ sound. Appears to be done for pleasure or, perhaps, on occasion, to relieve an itchy trunk. Squelching is most often heard when elephants are relaxed (e.g., standing by the side of a waterhole or waiting patiently for other family members to move on).

References: Poole & Granli 2003; Poole 2011; Poole & Granli 2011 [Trunk- Squelching]. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Lone & Object Play, Novel & Idiosyncratic


Context: Novel & Idiosyncratic (1)

This young male has been Standing next to our car for over 9 minutes. He has been playing with a couple of stones. In this clip he engages in a couple of idiosyncratic sounds. First, he breathes very purposefully out and then purposefully in, making loud breathing sounds. Then he puts his trunk into his mouth and makes a sound like a Paryngeal-Pouch-Suck as if sucking water from the back of his throat into his trunk and moving it around.

His trunk hangs in an elongated look and he moves it about making Squelching type sounds. Then he removes the tip of his trunk and lays it on the ground with the fingers pinched together. He continues to make Squelching sounds and then exhales through the pinched trunk fingers making a high-frequency-sound like a Squeak. Then he blows forcefully and water is blown out of the tip of his trunk. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Novel & Idiosyncratic (2)

An adolescent female from the AA family has come purposefully over to our car to study us. She is about 1.5 meters from my iPhone and has been standing next to us for over 2 minutes feeding on grass and then contemplating us. This is a typical example of the context in which an elephant might Squelch. (Amboseli, Kenya)