An infant, calf or juvenile Standing or Walking parallel to its mother or other family member, with trunk raised toward or reaching into the other’s mouth; persistent following and reaching and Begging is typically associated with complaining calls such as Begging-Rumbles, Cry-Rumbles and Grumble-Rumbles, etc.

Calves will reach into the mouths of others and Steal-Food. Such behavior is often associated with appeasement tactics by the calf, like Trunk-to-Mouth, Ear-Brushing and/or Social-Rubbing. Infants may reach into the mouths of their mothers and sample food. It has been assumed that this is one way infant elephants learn what to eat. Among older calves and juveniles, such Begging behavior is sometimes rewarded with food being purposefully dropped and shared by the mother (Food-Sharing).

References: Poole & Granli 2021. (Full reference list)

This behavioral constellation includes the following behaviors: Begging-Rumble, Cry, Cry-Rumble, Ear-Brush, Food-Sharing, Food-Stealing, Grumble-Rumble, Periscope-Trunk, Roar-Rumble, Rumble-Cry-Rumble, Social-Rubbing, Trunk-to-Mouth and occurs in the following context(s): Affiliative, Calf Nourishment & Weaning, Foraging & Comfort Technique


Context: Affiliative (1)

A 9 year old female (foreground) reaches Trunk-to-Mouth in a Solicit-Food gesture from younger 7 year female (background) who is feeding on a branch. The younger female Orient-Away, but then appears to purposefully drop the pieces of the branch she was holding and that the older juvenile was soliciting in a possible act of Food-Sharing. She picks up one of the pieces and continues to Orient-Away, while the older female picks up the other piece she had dropped. Something else catches their attention and they stand together Listening and Sniffing. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)