Seems fair enough, doesn’t it?
Well the elephant can be just as clear with its meaning to back off too. You’ll get a warning – a mock charge – and then if you won’t take the hint – it WILL mean it.
Please note: Each elephant has its own distinctive character so don’t generalise about the difference between serious and mock charges. This is for interest only. Obviously you should stay away from an elephant. Leave it be.
THE LEAD UP
An aggressive elephant raises its head and trunk, extends its ears, trumpets and throws up clouds of dust by kicking the ground and shaking its head.
A lot of this activity initially involves displays of bravado and can be considered to be mock displays. By now, any species in its right mind will take notice of these threatening displays and take the necessary evasion action.
If the elephant however realises that attempts to intimidate have failed and still feels threatened, the elephant will likely then sway backwards and forwards before it charges.
In a serious charge the ears are held back against the neck and the trunk is tucked up against the chin.
Most charges are stopped before the target is reached. HOWEVER if an attack is followed through an elephant is quite capable of killing rhino and hippo, and of wrecking vehicles.
At top speed an elephant can travel at 40 km/h (25 miles/h).
However their biggest asset is not their speed. Their primary defense is their sheer bulk, tusks and trunk as well as their strength in numbers. Adult elephants have virtually no enemies except humans. Wonder why…