Forcing the lower half of ear under and back so that a prominent horizontal ridge or fold appears across the ear. In an Aggressive or Attacking context it may be used by male and female adults, adolescents, juveniles and calves in combination with a variety of other threats such as Head-High, Look-At, Advance-Toward, Charge, etc. to emphasize that an elephant “means business.”

Ear-Folding can be either a short or a persistent display, the later indicating a "foul mood" or "testiness". Ear-Folding that is used in association with Head-Raising, Ear-Lifting or Rapid-Ear-Flapping is part of an Affiliative or Coalition Building display exhibited by adult, adolescent and juvenile females.

References: Poole 1982: 86, illustration 6.1; Poole, 1987a; Moss 1988; Poole 1989a; Poole 1996: 75, 77, 128, 133; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2011; O’Connell-Rodwell et al 2011. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Affiliative, Aggressive, Attacking & Mobbing, Birth, Coalition Building, Conflict & Confrontation, Submissive


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (1)

Members of the C family reacting to the arrival of a male in their group who is testing females. I am not sure who the male is. As he Advances-Toward gf0029 she gives an Ear-Slap and Orients-Away as she Head-Shakes. The male Flehmens and gf0029 and gf0030 seem to respond to his presence with a Female-Chorus (although this was filmed in slo-mo with no audio). As this clips starts they turn toward one another and then as a group going over to him. There is no sound, but can see Head-Raising, Ear-Lifting and Ear-Folding. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (2)

A male walks by the vehicle in full musth. He adopts a Musth-Walk and gives an Ear-Flap-Slide simultaneously with an Ear-Fold. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (3)

Rui is in musth and is Mud-Splashing. He pauses in his splashing to Listen - Freezing and Ears-Stiff and with his trunk held in a J-Trunk position. After the second bout of Listening he Ear-Folds and gives a quiet Musth-Rumble. He turns and gives a little Musth-Rumble again. As he leaves the mud-wallow he pauses to Listen with Ears-Stiff. This behavior - mud-splashing, Ear-Folding, Musth-Rumbling and Listening is typical musth male behavior. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)