A flaccid elephant penis is normally sheathed between the hind legs. As the penis starts to engorge it may partially extrude, still flaccid. A semi-erect penis is almost fully engorged and extrudes forward from the sheath and downward toward the ground. During a full-erection the tip of the penis twitches for several seconds, curving upward toward the belly, forming an S-shape. The term Penis-Erection refers to both semi- and full-erections.

When a non-musth male elephant urinates he fully extends his penis and usually, thereafter, obtains a semi-erection, which may lead to a full-erection. Males in musth typically Urinate with the penis still sheathed. Male infants and calves usually obtain erections when they Suckle, and both young and adult males sometimes obtain semi- and full-erections when they are engaged in Sparring activities, especially when these include Mounting.

References: Poole 1982: 49, 57, 108, 109, 133, 142; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2011. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Calf Nourishment & Weaning, Courtship, Maintenance, Social Play


Context: Courtship (1)

Pascal in musth with a Penis-Erection during a prelude to Mating with Amparo. He follows Amparo closely and she abruptly stops and Rump-Presents, standing with her body close to him. There is the slow moving calm that is typical of behavior immediately prior to a Mating between a high ranking, experienced musth male and an experienced adult female. Amparo stands for him Waiting and Pascal, too, Waits. Often this is when Driving occurs. Pascal has an erection which twitches to a full erection. Then Amparo initiates a Chase and Pascal tries a Reach-Over. The Chase ends in a successful Mating. (Amboseli, Kenya)