Holding the trunk in a relaxed position (hanging down, resting on the ground or over a trunk), but with the tip of the trunk curled under and around such that the trunk fingers point in the direction of an object of interest (often behind or to its side). As the individual sniffs the fingers of the trunk can be seen to partially open and close. This behavior is a component of a number of Attentive, Vigilant behavioral constellations. J-Trunk is a subtle form of sniffing and appears to be used when the individual would not necessarily have reason to make others aware of his or her object of interest or plan.

For example, J-Trunk is typical of a young male around an estrus female, who may wish not to alert higher ranking males of his intentions. In contrast, Periscope-Trunk, Trunk-Sweep and Horizontal-Trunk are conspicuous movements and typically cause other elephants to take notice and adopt similar behavior and appear to be done to draw the attention of others.

J-Trunk occurs in all age/sex groups except young calves and infants.

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

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Ambivalent, Attacking & Mobbing, Attentive, Conflict & Confrontation, Vigilance


Context: Vigilance (1)

gf0070 starts to walk toward us but then sees us and stops and and begins Foot-Lifting. As this clip begins she stands vigilant, Listening and sniffing with a J-Trunk. After the end of the clip she decides to depart. All Bunch around her and they make Full-Retreat. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Vigilance (2)

Aloisio, gm0040, stands contemplating us, vigilant. He is Listening and sniffing with a J-Trunk. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Vigilance (3)

The Ear-Spreading and J-Sniffing by this young male indicates that he has detected us sitting on the ground outside the car to his right. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Vigilance (4)

As the Mabenzi family walks past us they appear to get our scent. Notice the trunk-tips turned toward the camera - some adopting a Trunk-Toward, some a Periscope-Trunk and others, like Provocadora, the matriarch in the lead, adopting a J-Trunk. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Vigilance (5)

The F family has heard our vehicle and are acting Apprehensive and Vigilant. gf0034 is seen with a J-Trunk, Listening, and Head-Swinging, her head raised and turning from side to side. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)