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: Submissive (1)

Leroy meets a group of elephants heading to Lenkolong. There is another large male in the group and Leroy faces him Head-High and Ears-Folded. Although the male appears smaller with much shorter tusks, Leroy is afraid and Orients-Away and Retreats-From. During all the weeks that we worked in this area of the park Leroy kept to himself, avoiding other elephants and seeming fearful of other males and we wondered why. (Amboseli, Kenya)