Opening the eyes wide, sometime exposing the ‘white’ of the eye. An elephant normally casts is eyes downward. An alarmed, frightened or highly excited elephant may open its eyes wide. Eye-Widening may also be seen during intense Affiliative and excited Social Play contexts.

References: Poole 1996: 41, 54; 154, 155; Poole 2000a; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2004; Poole & Granli 2011 [Eye-Widening]. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Affiliative, Attentive, Birth, Social Play, Vigilance


Context: Attentive (1)

Mama Little E (left), and allomother V-Notch are seen standing with Little E. An adolescent male approaches and is seen to Trunk-Toward their genitals. He steps back as if to go behind V-Notch to Mama Little E. We can see her Eyes-Wide as she monitors the movements of the male and then Orient-Toward him as she Waits for Little E and leads him away. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Attentive (2)

Mama Little E exhibits Eyes-Wide as she forages. She seems to be looking for something particular. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)