Folium: Elephants Communicate Too! via National Geographic

Folium: Elephants Communicate Too via National Geographic

Folium: Elephants Communicate Too! via National Geographic
Creative Commons Image via Wikimedia Commons

Folium: Elephants Communicate Too! via National Geographic

Everyone who has ever owned a pet knows that each individual animal has its own personality and method of communicating its opinions and desires. Every living thing expresses its interactions with the environment in some way or another, and we’re finding out, Elephants in particular are pretty dynamic when it comes to communication! From a caress of a mother to her offspring, to the playful tusking of the ground, Elephants have developed hundreds of expressions we are just beginning to understand.

In this article, National Geographic highlights two researchers who have brought the complexities of elephant communication right to our curious fingertips. Joyce Poole and her husband Petter Granli have created an amazing online database that decodes hundreds of unique gestures, postures, and sounds that elephants use to communicate with one another. In a beautiful mixture of body language and audible noises, elephants have indeed created their own intricate lingo that you can research for yourself here:

“Elephants can be drama queens and really expressive, or they can be incredibly subtle and understated. It depends on what’s going on and the dynamics of the group,” – Poole.


Poole has been studying elephants in Africa as a biologist and conservationist for over 37 years, but has only started documenting her findings online in the past decade. She began to realize, as she was narrating elephant actions for guests at the Amboseli National Park in Kenya, that she could predict what they were going to do, based on the signs and signals they used to communicate with one another.

While humans can’t quite adopt this language as their own, I still believe it is important to understand that everything communicates in its own way. We can all learn to live a more harmonious life if we can come to understand the motivations and aspirations of others, whether they’re human or not.

Alyssa Davis


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