Using the trunk to point toward or sniff toward an individual, object or scent of interest. The trunk is held relatively straight and pointed in the direction of the object of interest. While the assumption has been that this behavior indicates that the individual is sniffing, we changed the term from Sniff-Toward to Trunk-Toward, because we believe that the behavior may, sometimes, serve a visual signalling function, as in drawing the attention of others to an individual or object of interest. All age/sex groups engage in Trunk-Toward.

References: Rasmussen & Schulte 1998; Poole 1999a; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2011 [Sniff-Toward/Hovering-Sniff]. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Attentive, Birth, Calf Reassurance & Protection, Conflict & Confrontation, Submissive, Vigilance


Context: Submissive (1)

Six males are standing around estrous female, Nastya. The youngest male has Backed-Toward a larger male in a cozy fashion as if he is confident that he won't be Pushed or Tusked - as if they know one another, perhaps related. A new male arrives in the group and the young male puts his Chin-out in anticipation. He gives a couple of Head-Dips and reaches Trunk-Toward to touch the other male, again with Chin-Out. He stands with Chin-Out and Foot-Forward. Then he Backs-Toward the older male again. (Amboseli, Kenya)