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The Floppy-Run is a signal of elephant fun!
Some of our contacts were very enthusiastic at the possibility of learning more about elephant behavior via our blog, so we are going to continue to share some elephant behavior with you.
As mentioned before, our new offline photo database means that we can easily search on a specific behavior and find all the images that we have of that behavior. This new system is essential for updating our Gestures Database. The other day a colleague sent me a photograph of elephants engaged in Floppy-Running. I knew that we had even better images in our database and found them with a quick entry of the behavior. The pictures taken in January this year are so lovely that I thought I would share them with you and take the opportunity to write a bit about Floppy-Running. The term was originally coined by Cynthia Moss to describe the loose, floppy running gait of a playful elephant. In Amboseli Floppy-Running is most often observed when elephants have had plenty to eat and are leaving the swamps at the end of the day. Playful behavior is often contagious, and though juveniles and calves are the most likely Floppy-Runners, adult females sometimes lose all sense of decorum and join in.
I have laughed aloud as I watched several families Floppy-Run across the plains to the tune of a cacophony of pulsated play trumpets. The elephants go all loose and floppy, shaking their lowered heads from side-to-side, allowing their trunk to flop about, their ears to flap wildly against their necks and curling their tails up high. Have a look at the sequence of beautiful images taken by Petter as a family Floppy-Run across the open plain. A wonderful, funny sight...Joyce