As we talked about last week, Guillermina is expressing some of her childlike behaviors within a remarkably patient group of elephants. She may occasionally try their patience, but mostly in innocent ways. Lately, after the group eats, Guille will walk from elephant to elephant, just being social; she greets them, touches, smells, and sometimes sticks her trunk in their mouths. It’s probably good that she moves along fairly quickly so that no one elephant gets overwhelmed by her excitement.
For Guillermina, putting her trunk in another elephant’s mouth is not necessarily an attempt to steal food. In some cases, elephants might be looking for snacks, but Guille seems to be more curious about the individuals than their food. Elephants have something called Jacobson’s Organ, a patch of sensory cells located on the roof of their mouths that gives off lots of information – much of which only they understand. What Guillermina is doing is one of many methods of elephant communication. While there’s no way to know exactly what the organ is “telling” Guille, she hasn’t been dissuaded from continuing her explorations.
Photo of Guillermina with her trunk in Pocha’s mouth