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: Calf Nourishment & Weaning (1)

Ruby's 6 year male has been trying to Suckle for a while and has been Roaring, Crying and complaining. He leans into her on her left side and she Kicks-Back at him. He goes around the other side to try and she keeps him at bay by using a Body-Nudge and by using her tail to swat him (Tail-Swatting). He leans back and gives a Grumble-Rumble. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)