Using the trunk, tusks or feet to play with an object. The elephant may engage with man-made objects (such as paper, plastic, cushion, flip-flop, film-canister, an old sack) as well with a palm-frond, swamp vegetation, a clump of grass or a stick. The individual may pick up the object, pierce it on a tusk, mouth it, bite it, step on it, roll it under a foot, or wave it from side to side, or up and down. The elephant may place it, or throw it, onto its own head or back, or toss it somewhere on the ground, often behind, and focus attention on it in quiet Contemplation - only to retrieve it and begin to play with it once more.
Object-Play may go on for 10-20 minutes or longer. Similar behavior may be seen by elephants in reaction to the bones of elephants: they may pick them up, mouth them, bite them, step on them, roll them under a foot, wave them about and toss them.
All age/sex groups may engage in Object-Play although it is more common among younger individuals.
References: Douglas-Hamilton 1972: ch 6; Moss 1982: 34; Poole 1996; Moss 1992; Payne 2003; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2011. (Full reference list)
This behavioral constellation includes the following behaviors: Explore-Touch-Foot, Explore-Touch-Mouth, Explore-Touch-Trunk, Pluck-Object, Tusking and occurs in the following context(s): Death, Lone & Object Play