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Understanding Elephant Communication: IELTS Reading Practice

Updated on 06 February, 2024

Gauri Agrawal

Gauri Agrawal

Sr. Content Writer


In the vast wilderness of Africa and Asia, elephants, the gentle giants of the animal kingdom, exhibit a fascinating array of communication techniques. Understanding these methods not only offers insight into their complex social structures but also provides an intriguing topic for those preparing for the IELTS reading section. This passage will explore the acoustic, visual, tactile, and chemical channels elephants use to 'talk' to each other.

The Silent Language of Giants

Elephants are renowned for their vocal abilities, which include sounds that are inaudible to the human ear. Their communication repertoire ranges from trumpets to rumbles, the latter of which can travel over long distances through the ground, allowing elephants to communicate with one another across vast savannas and dense forests.

Visual Signals in Elephant Communication

Apart from their vocalizations, elephants use a rich tapestry of visual cues. These majestic creatures convey messages through the positioning of their ears, the movement of their trunks, and even their tusks. A flared ear or a swinging trunk can signify anything from aggression to playfulness.

The Tactile Aspect of Elephant Interactions

Touch is a vital component in the way elephants interact with each other. Whether it is a nudge from a mother to her calf or the intertwining of trunks amongst peers, tactile communication serves to reinforce bonds and establish social hierarchies within the herd.

Chemical Communication: The Hidden Elephant Dialogue

Elephants also rely on chemical signals to convey information. Through secretions and excretions, they can leave behind scents that tell a story about their identity, reproductive status, and even their health.

Case Studies: Elephant Communication in Action

Through various observational studies, researchers have documented remarkable instances of elephant communication. One such study revealed how a matriarch's rumble could orchestrate the movement of the herd, while another documented the way bulls signal their dominance through chemical cues.

The Impact of Human Activity on Elephant Communication

As majestic as their communication systems are, they are not impervious to the impacts of human activity. Noise pollution from vehicles and industrial activities can interfere with their acoustic signals, leading to disrupted communication channels among these sentient beings.


What is the primary mode of long-distance communication among elephants?

A. Trumpets

B. Rumbles

C. Tusks signals

D. Scent markings

Which of the following is not mentioned as a form of elephant communication in the passage?

A. Visual cues

B. Tactile interactions

C. Ultrasonic waves

D. Chemical signals

How does human activity affect elephant communication?

A. It enhances their communication abilities.

B. It has no significant impact.

C. It disrupts their acoustic signals.

D. It leads to increased visual communication.


B. Rumbles - Elephants use low-frequency rumbles to communicate over long distances. These sounds can travel through the ground, allowing them to maintain contact with one another even when out of visual and acoustic range.

C. Ultrasonic waves - The passage does not mention elephants using ultrasonic waves for communication. Instead, it talks about their use of acoustic, visual, tactile, and chemical signals.

C. It disrupts their acoustic signals. - Human activity, particularly noise pollution, can interfere with the acoustic signals elephants use, potentially leading to miscommunications and affecting their social interactions.



The intricate communication methods of elephants underscore their intelligence and social complexity. As we delve deeper into understanding these magnificent creatures, it becomes crucial to consider how our actions impact their lives and communications. For IELTS learners, this passage provides not just a reading practice but also an opportunity to reflect on the broader implications of human-animal interactions.

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Gauri Agrawal

Sr. Content Writer

Gauri Agrawal is a passionate, professional and proactive content marketer who wants to grow in the field of content creation. She carries a rich experience of working in the Digital News sector with renowned names like Times Now Digital, and News X as a Copy Editor.

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