Using the tail to forcefully swat or hit an elephant behind it to indicate that the elephant should back off, tap an elephant to ask for its attention, or to gently check what is behind it. In rare cases using the tail to forcefully swat or hit an inanimate object like a tree. In Movement Space & Leadership and Social Play contexts all age/sex groups except infants may be observed to Tail-Swat; in a Calf Reassurance & Protection context both adult and adolescent females Tail-Swat; in a Calf Nourishment & Weaning context adult females Tail-Swat, while estrous females Tail-Swat in a Courtship context.

References: Kahl & Armstrong 2000; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2011; O’Connell-Rodwell et al 2011 [Tail to body]. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Calf Nourishment & Weaning, Calf Reassurance & Protection, Courtship, Foraging & Comfort Technique, Movement, Space & Leadership, Novel & Idiosyncratic, Social Play, Submissive


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (1)

Pictured are the Mabenzi family members and musth male, Gogogo. Gogogo walks while Trunk-Dragging and approaches Valente as if to test her. She is aware of his approach and Looks-Back at him and begins Tail-Swatting him. He pauses to Sniff-Ground, but then follows her and tests her Trunk-to-Genitals. She Tail-Swats him again. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (2)

A young male approaches large adult female, gf0061, who is drinking. He walks very purposefully toward her while she waits. She Orients-away and he tests her Trunk-to-Genitals. As he tests her she Tail-Swats him and Head-Shakes vigorously. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)