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: Attentive (1)

Viajante acts as if he may be coming into musth. He walks away from Mud-Spashing while Trunk-Dragging. Then he appears to be sniffing as he adopts a J-Trunk posture several times and looks to be Tracking. He does a little Ear-Wave type movement. He Listens. He Rubs on a tree and while doing so he does several weird-looking Trunk-Bounces. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Attentive (2)

A young male appears to have detected a scent ahead of him and J-Sniffs as he walks. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Attentive (3)

An adolescent female appears to have detected a scent of interest ahead of her, and J-Sniffs as she walks. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Attentive (4)

A young male is walking toward a group of elephants resting under tree. He J-Sniffs as he approaches them. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Attentive (5)

gm0015 uses a J-Trunk sniff as he quietly contemplates us. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Attentive (6)

Mwana Nzo adopts a J-Trunk as she quickly approaches a water hole. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)