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Elephants intimidate predators by rushing at them with a trumpet blast

If an elephant or group of elephants decides to intimidate a predator they may do so by producing a range of terrifyingly powerful vocalizations. One of these calls is a particularly loud blasting trumpet, which sounds very different from the trumpets elephants make when they are playful or excited.

Elephants typically give this blasting trumpet as they are charging at their adversary, or as they come to a dramatic stop meters away, flinging their trunk toward, throwing debris at and/or kicking dust at the object of their fury. If you go to our Gestures Database on our website ElephantVoices you can find some photographs of these behaviors by searching for the words "Charge", "Mock-Charge", "Throw-Debris" and "Kick-Dust."

The primary function of the blasting trumpet appears to be to attempt to frighten. It usually works! Listen to how an elephant sounds when it is trumpeting at a predator or an animal that it is trying to scare away.

An adult male elephants trumpets at lions: {audio}z0403622.mp3{/audio}
An eight year old elephants trumpets at a Maasai dog: {audio}z1701525.mp3{/audio}
An adolescent female, Ebony, trumpets when bravely "seeing off" a hyena: {audio}c2000625.mp3{/audio}