An individual using a forefoot to kick at a clump of grass to loosen it from the soil. Often employed with short grass such as Sporobolus spicatus. An elephant may also employ a forefoot in situation where stubble is too short to grasp with the trunk, or when a clump of grass is strongly rooted making it more efficient to loosen it with a kick than simply pulling with the trunk. This technique is not performed by infants. It is learned as a calf and perfected as a juvenile.

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

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Foraging & Comfort Technique


Context: Foraging & Comfort Technique (1)

Arora B comes up to the car and listens to us speaking to her. She is feeding on Sporobolus spicatus. As this species begins to dry out, the Amboseli elephants first kick it with their feet and then rub the clump against the underside of their trunk to remove the dirt before putting it in their mouths. (Amboseli, Kenya)