Using the trunk to gently touch, caress or fondle another elephant in a reassuring, comforting or affiliative manner. While adult females or juvenile females most often direct Caressing towards infants and calves, adults and juveniles may also Caress one another. In a Calf Reassurance & Protection context Caressing comes in many forms: Wrapping a trunk over the back and around the belly of a calf or over calf's shoulder and under its neck often touching its mouth, or reaching out to touch the genitals, face, legs, mouth, trunk. Caressing is often associated with Coo-Rumbling and calves typically respond with an As-Touched or Baroo-Rumble. Calls of distress by calves, e.g. Husky-Cry, Cry, Cry-Rumble, Roar, Roar-Rumble, also elicit Caressing.
While Caressing is a general term used primarily to describe the almost obsessive touching of a newborn by mother and allomothers, the behavior can be used as a collective term to described the Trunk-to-Body/Face/Genitals/Mouth that occurs in an Affiliative context between members of a family or bond group.
References: Douglas-Hamilton 1972: 113 (photo); Lee 1987; Poole 1996: 93, 137; Bates et al 2008; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2011. (Full reference list)
This behavioral constellation includes the following behaviors: As-Touched-Rumble, Baroo-Rumble, Coo-Rumble, Cry, Cry-Rumble, Ear-Lifting, Husky-Cry, Roar-Rumble, Trunk-to-Body, Trunk-to-Face, Trunk-to-Genitals, Trunk-to-Mouth and occurs in the following context(s): Birth, Calf Reassurance & Protection