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: Advertisement & Attraction (1)

Pascal is in full musth. He has been Listening and Musth-Rumbling in and beside a water hole and while feeding on grass. In this clip he begins to walk, Trunk-Dragging and Musth-Rumbles and Ear-Waves. He reaches his Trunk-Toward and sniffs the air. Then he raises it to a Periscope-Trunk.

We know, in retrospect, that he is about to meet musth male Emo and likely knows Emo is close by. We are so focused on Pascal that we don't see Emo coming! After Periscope-Trunk he drops his trunk over his temporal glands in a half-hearted Head-Toss and then lets it fall onto his tusk in a Casual-Stance. He pivots 90 degrees and begins a more pronounced Musth-Walk. He has seen Emo. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (2)

Upendo with a Periscope-Trunk sniffs toward Pascal and estrous female Qadija. (Amboseli, Kenya)