When observing affectionate trunk-entwining, placing trunks into the other animal’s mouth and kissing, look what are the sexes. Quite often it’s two males. Same-sex bonding is quite common among elephants. They even mount one another, for a quite longer period than males and females. This is surprising as bull elephants have a reputation as loners or aggressively fighting for hierarchy, but there are times for tender affection, too, particularly between an older adult and a juvenile male.
Male elephants are known to be loners. Indeed, bull elephants leave the matriarchal herd durin adolescende and then travel in smaller groups with other males. Old male elephants prefer solitary lives, mingling with females only during the mating period. Not surprisingly, the fights among bull elephants over dominance becomes more violent during this period. However, there are temporary groups of male elephants, too. Showing affection by placing the trunk on the other’s back or kissing him is the means to make him feel welcome within this male social group.
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