Lifting and holding the trunk up in an S-shape. This posture is used in many contexts: Most well-known is the apparent adoption of this stance to detect scents carried on the wind, including, for instance, rain or predators. In this Attentive context Periscope-Trunk is particularly used when meeting strangers, potential dangers or if additional information is required. The assumption has long been that this is a form of sniffing (and originally referred to as Periscope-Sniffing), though we believe that it is also a signal - as in a ‘pay attention’ or ‘heads up.’

An exaggerated form of Periscope-Trunk referred to as a Trunk-Sweep is further used in Defensive situations as lead individuals appear to use the sweeping movement to galvanise members of their group into a Coalition to confront a threat. The adoption of Periscope-Trunk is also observed in Aggressive/Submissive, Social Play or other expectant situations, as an individual pauses with the trunk up in a periscope or S-shape waiting for a partner's next move. In this context it was first named ‘Distant-Frontal-Attitude’.

As two individuals approach one another with intent to Spar, or intent to Duel, one or both may raise the trunk above the head and curl the tip toward the other individual. In a Calf Nutrition & Weaning context, calves adopt this posture as they approach their mothers to Solicit-Suckling. This behavior is observed in all age sex groups except Calf Nutrition & Weaning in which restricted to infants, calves and juveniles.

References: Kühme 1961; Kühme 1963 [Distant- Frontal-Attitude]; Rasmussen & Schulte 1998; Poole 1987b; Poole, 1996: 134; Payne 1998; Rasmussen 1998; Poole 1999a; Rasmussen 1999a Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2004 [Distant-Frontal-Attitude & Periscope-Sniff]. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Attentive, Calf Nourishment & Weaning, Coalition Building, Social Play, Submissive, Vigilance


Context: Social Play (1)

A four year old female (right) and a two year old male are considering playing together. They stand facing one another and the female on the right adopts a Periscope-Trunk in an expectant posture. It is reciprocated and they Spar. They are interrupted by a six year old female who roughly Pushes the younger calf away. But he returns and adopts a Periscope-Trunk again and they resume their playing. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Social Play (2)

A four year old female (right) and a two year old male are considering continuing their play together. They stand on opposite sides of a tree. The female Pushes on it and then the male begins Pushing. He then goes around and reaches Trunk-to-Face. He Backs-Away and seems to swing his head - considering. The female raises her trunk in a Periscope-Trunk against the tree and the adopts a Periscope-Trunk and examines her tusks tip (Allo-Check-Tusk). He waits in this expectant position and then comes around and they stand Reciprocal-Open-Mouth before walking off together. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)