Tusk-Ground

Bending or kneeling down and tusking the ground and, often, uplifting clods of soil and vegetation. When elephants engage in Mud-Wallowing they often Tusk-Ground. This is particularly true of Mud-Wallowing musth males who will engage in an exaggerated form of Tusk-Ground along with other components of a musth male display. In an Aggressive context Tusk-Ground is seen in the manoeuvring between two males during an Escalated-Contest, apparently as a demonstration of ‘look what I will do with you’.

In an Attacking & Mobbing context an elephant may Kneel-Down and Tusk a person or other animal into the ground to kill or maim it. During Social Play elephants engage in a gentle form of both Kneel-Down and Tusk-Ground, behaviors that encourage other elephants to Climb-Upon.

References: Kühme 1961; Poole 1982: 51, 57; Moss 1988; Poole 1987a; Poole 1987c; Poole 1996: 159; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2004; Poole & Granli 2011. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Aggressive, Foraging & Comfort Technique, Social Play

Tusk-Ground

Context: Advertisement & Attraction (1)

Pascal is in full musth. He is standing in a water hole Listening. He begins to move toward the edge and we hear a Musth-Rumble and he begins to Ear-Wave. A plane is still passing overhead. He stops at the edge of the water hole to Tusk-Ground. There is another musth male in the vicinity but they have not yet met. (Amboseli, Kenya)

Tusk-Ground

Context: Advertisement & Attraction (2)

Icarus is in full musth and is Mud-Wallowing. He digs his long tusk into the ground and rests in that position. He trows more mud on himself and then rubs his face and you can clearly see the Musth-Trunk-Wrinkle. (Amboseli, Kenya)

Tusk-Ground

Context: Advertisement & Attraction (3)

A male in musth Ear-Folds, Ear-Waves and Musth-Rumbles and then plunges his tusks into the ground in Tusk-Ground. Footage courtesy of Linda Porter. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)

Tusk-Ground

Context: Advertisement & Attraction (4)

In the rain a musth male Tusks-Ground sometimes raising a hind foot off the ground. He stands up with clods of dirt on his tusks and, raising his head he drags his trunk over his head and temporal glands in a typical musth male Elephant Aware. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)

Tusk-Ground

Context: Social Play (1)

A 6 year old female from Selengei's family is down on her knees engaged in Tusk-Ground. A one year old calf is behind her while the rest of the family is moving about around her while foraging. Selengei stops next to her as if Waiting and the 1 year old calf comes to stand next to her, as if about to engage in play with her. But the female gets to her feet and Head-Shakes. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)

Tusk-Ground

Context: Social Play (2)

Two juveniles from Big Mama's family are engaged in a bout of play. As the clip starts the male calf on the left is in a Sitting position and the juvenile female on the right is Kneeling-Down. They purposefully lean towards one another, pressing their bodies together. The male Reaches-Over the female and she Tusks-Ground first on one side and then the other, and then flops her body sideways and kicks her hind leg in the air. She wiggles about for a bit and then Stands up. The male calf also Stands and then gives her a little Push. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)

Tusk-Ground

Context: Foraging & Comfort Technique (1)

A medium sized adult male is in a mud-wallow depression. His tusks are covered in mud as he has been engaging in Tusk-Ground. After a while he plunges his tusks into the ground again. A larger male arrives and displaces him. (Amboseli, Kenya)

Tusk-Ground

Context: Foraging & Comfort Technique (2)

A medium sized adult male enters a mud-wallow depression and engages in Tusk-Ground. He Tusks-ground for more than 2 minutes. He comes out and gives a Head-Toss. (Amboseli, Kenya)

Tusk-Ground

Context: Foraging & Comfort Technique (3)

Elephants are Mud-Wallowing and a two year old calf Tusks-Ground. (Amboseli, Kenya)