You may have seen videos of elephants swaying somewhere on the internet. The first time you see it, you may be a bit confused and think why are they doing this? Isn’t it weird? What does it mean? Is there some hidden message for us in this behavior of the elephant? Well, if you have been asking yourself these questions, then we’re here to reveal the entire mystery behind this swaying act of elephants. So what do elephants sway for and what exact purpose does it serve them? If you continue reading, you will find answers to all your queries.
Why Do Elephants Sway?
When you see elephants swaying, sometimes you may think that the animals are moving to some random music in their head. But truly speaking, there is a very specific reason behind their swaying. The elephants are actually releasing stress and fatigue from their body through this swaying action. Elephants are very intelligent animals and their ability to feel stress is the same as humans. The swaying movement helps the elephants to regulate the flow of blood, maintain their body temperature, and keep their muscles relaxed. When the elephants sway, their heart rate also decreases and blood pressure normalizes.
Why Do Elephants Shake Their Trunk?
- Elephants sway in order to cool down. Elephants are very hot creatures. They need to keep themselves cool. Swaying helps them in this regard.
- They sway to scare off the predators. Elephants are famous for their intelligence and strength, which makes them a target of predators like lions, leopards, and tigers.
- In order to communicate with each other, elephants sway their trunks in unison with the rest of the herd that is nearby and also with other herds that are far away from them.
- Elephants sway when they want to indicate that they have something to say, so as to avoid making unnecessary sounds or noises in their surroundings. The first time you see an elephant doing this, you might find it weird but if you continue seeing elephants doing this on a daily basis then it will become a normal thing for you too!
- Elephants sway to show their dominance over other elephants.
- Elephants sway when they want to express anger or frustration.
- Elephants sway to warn other elephants from danger, as in case of stampede or attack by predators.
- Elephants sway when they feel like having a rest, indicating that it’s time for them to have a break and a nap!
- Elephants sway only with their heads and trunk, but not with their legs! They are too heavy for their legs to move! If you see an elephant wiggling its legs while it is standing upright then you may be shocked, but believe us this is not possible! This movement is just for show and has no real purpose behind it!
- Elephants sway in order to communicate with each other or other herd members or even humans! Elephants do not use sound waves as we do, so they use the vibrations from their trunks to communicate with each other.
- Elephants sway when they are afraid of something! They do this in order to intimidate others, as well as humans! You will see them doing this when they feel threatened by predators, or when they are on a search for food and water!
- Elephants sway when they are angry with each other! Just like humans, elephants also have the ability to express anger through their body language, and body language is a great way of communicating with other animals too! In case you want an example of how elephants express anger through their body language then just watch an elephant fight with another one!
When Do Elders Or Baby Elephants Sway?
1. When They Come To Visit
When elephants come to your home, they usually visit the garden in search of food. And while they are in the garden they like to sway. The reason behind this is that this behavior helps young elephants get used to the environment around them and also lets them relax and cool down.
2. When They Are Relaxing
Elephants have a very calm temperament which makes them more comfortable when they are alone or if there are no other elephants around. So whenever an elephant is alone, he will probably sway in order to relax and feel comfortable.
3. To Cool Off
Swaying is one of the most effective methods of cooling off for elephants as it helps them to cool off from the heat that is generated inside their bodies by their large muscles. This way, they can also help keep themselves cool and avoid dehydration if there are no water sources nearby so that they don’t overheat while searching for water or food during hot days.
4. To Sleep
Elephants sleep for around 16 hours a day and the swaying helps them to sleep better. This is because the movement of their bodies causes the blood to flow in their bodies and this way, they can keep themselves cool so that they don’t tend to get too warm during their sleep.
5. When They Are Resting
When elephants are resting, they will usually sway as this is one of their favorite activities. This behavior helps them to relax and feel comfortable while they are resting. So whenever an elephant wants to rest or when he does not have much work for a few days, he will usually do this activity as it makes him feel relaxed and more comfortable while resting.
6. When They Are Fighting With Another Elephant
When two elephants fight each other, they sway quite often because it helps them to release their stress and anger which is caused due to fighting with another elephant or even by any other reason like getting into an argument with someone else.
7. When They Are Having A Nice Time
Elephants love to roam around and interact with other elephants, so whenever they are having a nice time with other elephants, they will probably sway at some point. This is a very common behavior among them as they enjoy themselves while interacting with other elephants.
8. When They Are Playing
Another reason why elephants sway is that it helps them to play during the day and it makes them feel more relaxed and happy when they are playing with each other or if there are no other elephants around them. This is one of the most common activities which an elephant likes to do during his leisure time when he is not working or when he has nothing else to do since their working hours are very strict in the zoos where they live.
The elephants swaying and trunk shaking may look weird, but the reason behind it is pretty simple. The swaying and the trunk movement are common natural behaviors that elephants use to regulate their blood flow and temperature. It is also believed that this swaying helps elephants to get rid of stress by taking slow and deep breaths. So next time you see an elephant swaying, try to understand the reason behind it and don’t get surprised. Because elephants are very intelligent animals and they know exactly what they are doing!