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: Conflict & Confrontation (1)

G7 Advances-Toward us and Stands-Tall, Ear-Spreading. As he approaches he does a Head-Dip-Touch-Ground a few times. He towers over us and reaches his Trunk-Toward us while Ear-Spreading. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Conflict & Confrontation (2)

The Mabenzi family is responding to the tire tracks and Mwana Nzo has moved up smartly to check the track. She sniffs and then Stands-Tall looking at Kate’s/Greg’s car x 2 and then sniffs again and decides, correctly, that it is us. She turns on us Standing-Tall and then begins a what looks like a Charge but is only a few Bow-Neck-Advance and then Kick-Dust. She reconsiders and begins Backing-Away and Touch-Ground. Before departing she reaches her Trunk-Toward us and then she turns away. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)