In a rapid movement, the distal portion of the trunk is curled up and around in a whorl and then flicked downward. Sometimes the whorl is omitted and only the flick-down is exhibited. Often associated with an exhale of breath. We do not have enough information on the contexts in which this behavior occurs, although we believe that it may be related to scenting and/or ambivalence.

References: Poole & Granli 2021. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Ambivalent, Attentive, Social Play, Vigilance


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (1)

A male is Sniffing-Urine deposited by an estrous female several minutes before. Intermittently he presses his trunk fingers flat on the ground in a Place and occasionally exhibits Trunk-Flick-Down. When he departs a younger male who has been Queuing-Up repeats the pattern. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (2)

These two males have been engaged in an Escalated-Contest for close to three hours. The male on the left with the broken tusks has had assistance from an older male who intervened on his behalf at least 5 times. He has engaged in very aggressive behavior toward the longer tusked male. Now near the end of the interaction the helping male has departed and the male on the right, who is just larger, is able to assert his dominance.

Minutes before this clip, the broken tusked male Urinated and Defecated at this spot and the longer tusked male has come over to test it. He Sniffs-Urine and Sniffs-Dung and then engages in Trunk-Flick-Down and Flehmen. It is possible that the broken tusked male is coming into musth for the first time, which could explain his persistent aggression - either way the other male is likely testing his sexual state or body condition. (Amboseli, Kenya)