Weird Nature
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What It's Like To Be Killed By An Elephant

Updated January 5, 2021 42.6k views14 items

Elephants are majestic, fascinating, and occasionally frightening creatures. Generally they're a gentle animal but on occasion they can get violent, and they can cause serious pain on those around them, including humans. Yes, for anyone still wondering can elephants kill you, be assured they definitely can and will. But how would an elephant kill you, and why? Perhaps you're even wondering what being killed by an elephant is like. Well, wonder no more, because we have all the grisly answers.

Keep in mind being killed by an elephant is nothing like being killed by a bear or some other predator. You're not being attacked and killed for food, and you're less likely to be bitten and clawed to death. Instead, elephants are one of the few animals that can actually crush you. Even when having sex, elephants can hurt one other with their weight.

Although elephants are usually gentle giants, the idea of getting killed by one is as horrifying as it is fascinating. So if you've ever wondered what being killed by an elephant is like, read on, dear reader.

  • You May Be Thrown A Great Distance

    Photo: Tambako the Jaguar / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0

    After they're done pummeling you with their big long nose, they may use it to toss you aside like a sack of potatoes. Before he was attacked, Tom Siebel had time to see his safari guide tossed around by an elephant, and the sight definitely left an impression:

    "I’d say the animal is four yards away and this guide then shoots and misses. It goes above its head. Then the elephant came up to him and [with her] trunk just threw him aside. I could hear the air decompress out of his body as the animal hurled him over maybe 10 yards to my right."

    Luckily, the guide was virtually unhurt by the attack, despite being thrown. It's unlikely you would be so lucky if an elephant decided they wanted to throw you.

  • You May Be Left Half-Alive In The Middle Of Nowhere

    Photo: Sum_of_Marc / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Some people do survive elephant attacks initially, but they don't always do so for long. Elephants are not predators. They do not eat their kills, they do not relentlessly attack you until you're dead, and while they are aggressive, they're not killing you for fun. Because of that, if you're unconscious or stop moving, they may just stop attacking you. After they stop, they'll move away from the area rather than watching you for movement, so you may be able to regain consciousness.

    However, after an initial attack, you're likely to be left in pretty poor shape. You may be gored, you may have broken limbs and ruptured organs, and you may be completely unable to move. What's worse is if you're out by wild elephants you're likely to be alone and stranded out in the middle of nowhere - the elephant's natural habitat. This means you're perfect prey for scavengers and other local predators. Whether infection, blood loss, organ damage, or other animals kill you, you can bet the ensuing death will be a slow and painful one.

    Long story short, don't piss off an elephant. The results are not pretty.

  • It May Happen For Seemingly No Reason

    Photo: svenstorm / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0

    Despite their enormous size, elephants tend to keep pretty peaceful. Their herbivores, they're fearful of predators, and they have an intricate social hierarchy. But sometimes these guys just snap. From the outside, it may seem like this happens for no reason at all, but to be honest humans are usually the cause.

    Each year, roughly 500 people are killed by elephants. This mostly happens when they are shot at, stressed, or harassed. When an elephant is in musth, they can be very aggressive to anyone who approaches. But to an onlooker, it can seem sometimes an elephant goes off the rails without warning in an instant. This is part of what makes elephant attacks so deadly, because when you can't see it coming, it's hard to get out of the way.

  • He'll Charge You At Full Speed

    Photo: lk photography&design / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0

    When an elephant has decided to run you down, they don't hold anything back. They'll lower their head, pin their ears to their body, and rush you with all of their force. And if you think elephants look pretty slow, you had best think again. Elephants can run at up to roughly 23 miles per hour. On top of that, some African Elephants weigh up to thirteen thousand pounds. That's a whole lot of force coming straight at you. When an elephant charges they don't care what's in their way, be it people, cars, other animals, or even trees. The fact is, once he really charges, you're pretty screwed.