An elephant holding his or her ears tensed, cocked or stiffened. An elephant normally holds its ears in a relaxed position such that they rest approximately 10-30cm from the side of the body with the tops of the ears level with the top of the head. In this relaxed position the ears do not appear stiff or tense, lifted, spread, or pressed against the body. Different age sex group may be observed to stiffen their ears in different contexts.

In general, Ears-Stiff indicates than an elephant is Attentive, Vigilant or engaged in interaction with another elephant. Listening, Freezing, Contemplating elephants all display Ears-Stiff. Ears-Stiff is a component of the Musth-Constellation as well as Wariness in Estrous-Females.

References: Poole and Moss 1981; Poole 1982: 77, illustration 4.7; Poole 1987a: 298 drawing; Poole 1999a; Poole & Granli 2011 [Ears-Tense, Ear-Cocking, Ear-Stiffening]. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Affiliative, Attentive, Birth, Calf Nourishment & Weaning, Conflict & Confrontation, Social Play, Vigilance


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (1)

A musth male adopts a Musth-Walk, Head-High with Ears-Stiff. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (2)

A musth male walks with Ears-Stiff. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)