A short (1-2 seconds in duration) rumble made by an infant or calf when approached and or touched in a caring way by an older member of its family. This rumble has a rising and falling 'aauurrrrr' quality and is typically soft and tonal, though may sometimes be louder and more noisy. We refer to rumbles given in this context as As-Touched-Rumbles. The calling infant or calf engages Head-Raising and Ear-Lifting as it calls, behavior that is comparable to that exhibited by older individuals in the context of a Little-Greeting-Rumble and the quality of the As-Touched-Rumble is also similar.

Like Little-Greeting-Rumbles, the calls given by calves in the context of receiving an affiliative gesture are highly variable, ranging from rather soft, unmodulated tonal rumbles to louder, more modulated and sometimes rather noisy rumbles. We believe that the difference, in both call types, is an expression of the intensity of emotion experienced by the calling individual. We postulate that the As-Touched-Rumble is a precursor to the Little-Greeting-Rumble.

References: Poole 2011. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Affiliative


Context: Affiliative (1)

This is part of Big Mama's family. As the clip begins an adult female moves forward to feed on a bush. Her one year female calf goes behind her and leans on her hind leg as an allomother looks on and touches the calf. The calf walks forward and as she is touched by another adolescent female she Head-Raises, Ear-Flaps and gives a loud As-Touched-Rumble, which seems to be answered by another elephant out of view. The adolescent female engages in Head-Raising and Ear-Lifting.

This is the age when we believe that As-Touched-Rumbles begin to transition into Little-Greeting-Rumbles - for this reason we have included this clip under both categories. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Affiliative (2)

A family is crossing a rocky stream with an infant. It has been a difficult crossing for the baby and its mother has been very attentive Waiting and watching. Her older 4 year old female calf is already drinking in the river. As she is approached and touched by another member of the family the calf Head-Raises, Ear-Lifts and Ear-Flaps and gives an open-mouthed As-Touched-Rumble. As the mother comes closer she calls again, though we can't see whether she is touched. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Affiliative (3)

Big mama's family is slowly Moving-While-Feeding. There is a commotion in the back of the group where an 18 month old male is Mounting another male the wrong way around! He has Mounted his head, clasping both ears in his forelegs. The mounted calf appears to give a Grumble-Rumble in protest.

There is an alternative explanation for this call - behind Big Mama we see a 4 year old female calf. At the moment of the call we see a trunk reach out to touch her and both Big Mama and her adolescent daughter in the foreground Look-Back with Ear-Lifting. It is equally possible that this is an As-Touched-Rumble by the calf. The two calls are similar in quality and the wind is too strong to differentiate. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)