Tossing the head and tusks back and forth through bushes or other vegetation creating noise and visual commotion. In an Escalated-Contest, between musth males, and in an Attacking & Mobbing context Bush-Bashing is likely a demonstration of strength; an expression of “look what I can do with you!" In a Social Play context elephants may run back and forth through bushes or long grass beating up and lifting up vegetation creating a ruskus that appears to be contagious.

References: Poole 1987c; Moss 1988; Poole 1996: 148, 171; Poole & Granli 2004; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2011. (Full reference list)

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


Context: Attacking & Mobbing (1)

Matriarch Provocadora, gf0012, of the Mabenzi family has just Charged us and you can hear us discussing her behavior. As this clip begins she is considering what to do next. She has just engaged in Trunk-Twisting and then she Foot-Lifts. She begins what looks like it may be a Perpendicular-Walk and we guess correctly that she will Charge again. She does, this time she crashes through a palm tree, Bush-Bashing, for added audible effect. Then as she gets closer to us she Kicks-Dust - adding to the visual impact. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Attacking & Mobbing (2)

Nomada leads her two calves in a Group-Advance towards us accompanied by a young male, who may or may not be a family male. She diverts and continues parallell to us, while the male comes closer and demonstrates to us by crashing into some dead branches and making a commotion. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Attacking & Mobbing (3)

Corajosa Charges at us, Ear-Folding; she pauses momentarily and then Charges again, purposefully crashing into fallen branches and a log, Bush-Bashing, making a commotion and Kicking-Dust in a visible and audible display. Again she Bush-Bashes as she lunges toward us and Kicks-Dust again. Then she reverses through the branches again making a commotion and begins to Back-Away.

She pauses a couple of times and we see her Ear-Fold and Ear-Flap and believe she Rumbles to her family, whom we can see in the distance. She appears to pause slightly facing to them and Listens - as if to see whether they are coming. In my field notes I note that other females responded with the very low-frequency throbbing rumble we hear when they are attacking/mobbing us. We notice that they respond when she first Charges and then again when she pauses and Rumbles to them they begin to move in her direction. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)