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: Ambivalent (1)

Tee-Jay and Gordon, both in musth, have been engaged in an Escalated-Contest. But when Paolo, also in musth, appears they turn to look at him in anticipation. When Paolo is about 50 m away both males turn to face him, Waiting for him with some visible apprehension. Gordon is Foot-Lifting and holds his trunk under. Paolo walks toward them with Head-High, Chin-In in a very dominant posture while Tee-Jay's bravado has changed and he Waits for Paolo with Trunk-Toward and his chin further out than earlier. Paolo continues to Advance-Toward them and at about 3 m Tee-Jay Backs-Away. Both males Retreat-From Paolo. Paolo's arrival breaks up the fight, whether purposefully or not. (Amboseli, Kenya)