A powerful, relatively long and seemingly sustained, Trumpet lasting 1-1.5 seconds in duration produced when an elephant or group of elephants confronts a predator, or other perceived threat. An individual may Advance-Toward or Charge while Trumpeting. Referred to as a Trumpet-Blast these calls are intended to intimidate, and, typically, Charges that are associated with them end abruptly. Yet, in our experience, it is wise not to assume that a Trumpeting and Charging elephant will not make good her threat.

Cavorting elephants Charging at or Running-After other species during Social Play (such as rabbits, hyenas, wildebeests, monkeys, or the human observer) typically Trumpet-Blast, too. While such Trumpets produced in the two contexts are similar, those produced when confronting a serious threat are more powerful and it is certainly possible to hear a difference between the two contexts. We previously called those produced during play Mock-Charge-Play-Trumpets (Poole, 2011).

References: Poole & Granli 2004; Poole 2011 [including Mock-Charge-Play-Trumpet]. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Aggressive, Attacking & Mobbing, Calf Reassurance & Protection, Social Play


Context: Aggressive (1)

A couple of families have met and are bathing in a pool. As the elephants begin to depart the female on the left Ear-Folds and Advances-Toward a female from another family who Retreats-From and disappears from view. We see the aggressor pause and Orient-Away and then Orient-Toward and stand with Chin-Out in an aggressive posture as if she is receiving a counter threat.

She continues Advancing-Toward and then suddenly turns and Runs-Away, splashing into the water as a third, larger female Charges into view, Forward-Trunk-Swings and Trumpet-Blasts at her in threat. This larger female is likely the matriarch, mother or close ally of the second female. The female who was chased back into the waters waits with J-Trunk and then turns and follows the others out of the water. (Amboseli, Kenya)