Nonverbal Communication

If you see someone scowl and cross their arms, you know they are aggravated.  Elephants too use body communication.

A tail stuck out means the elephant is surprised and perhaps fearful, depending on what is surprising him.

Placing the tip of the trunk into another’s mouth is just like a friendly human handshake.  When a herd reunites, everyone has their trunks in each other’s mouths.

Although swatting the ears sometimes just swats flies, it also is a way for the matriarch to tell everyone in the herd to get moving.  If an elephant flaps its ears at you, you better really get moving!

A bouncing run with a shake of the head side to side is playful, and invites others to join in the fun.  Once an elephant matures, they don’t exhibit this behavior as often.

And, swatting the tail back and forth tells other elephants to back off…they are tailgating and that’s not appreciated.


Photo taken at Elephant Nature Park



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