What It's Like To Be Killed By An Elephant

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 Will Be Stabbed With His Tusks

    You Will Be Stabbed With His Tusks
    Photo: Jared Kelly / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Being killed by an elephant usually involves lots of stomping. Something that's equally painful and terrifying? His tusks. Elephant tusks are made of a strong ivory quite capable of tearing right through human flesh and even shattering human bones. Elephants use these tusks to fight each other and to fend off predators and, in some cases, to attack people who invade their safety and their space. Because of that, one of the first things you might feel is the impact of these tusks.

    Billionaire Tom Siebel was once attacked by an elephant, and the tusks are definitely much of what he remembers:

    "It knocked me to the ground with its trunk, it rolled me, punched me, put a tusk through my left thigh, gored it, then ripped it out sideways."

    Although he survived the attack, Siebel was never quite the same after his injuries, and he has the scars to prove it.

  • He'll Beat You With His Trunk

    He'll Beat You With His Trunk
    Photo: amslerPIX / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    An elephant's trunk might seem like a big, soft, sensitive area, but it's a lot more than that. It's also an incredibly strong muscle. Separate from the rest of the body the nose alone weighs 400 pounds, and when that hits you, you know it. An elephant's trunk is stronger than any man you'd come up against. An elephant can lift up to 770 pounds with his trunk.

  • You'll Probably Die To The Sound Of Shattering Bones

    You'll Probably Die To The Sound Of Shattering Bones
    Photo: amanderson2 / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    Compared to the strength and rage of an elephant, your bones might as well be toothpicks. A single kick from one of these animals can shatter your ribs, one step downwards can completely obliterate any of your limbs. With only his trunk, an elephant can crush your skull in and one bad toss can snap your neck. In other words, you'll probably feel your bones breaking under the force of this wild attack. Tom Siebel remembers the sound well from his attack:

    "It stepped on my leg, kicked my leg, broke six ribs and ripped up my shoulder. I remember every instant of it, trying to protect my head with my arms. I remember the blows to my lower extremities, and it just hurt so bad I couldn’t believe it. Imagine what it’s like taking an elephant tusk through the thigh or hav[ing] a six-ton animal step on your leg It just snaps. The pain was intolerable. I had one thought: “Please, God, make this stop.”

    This can also be murder on your internal organs. Lungs can be punctured, stomachs can be ruptured, and your heart could even be crushed in your chest!

  • He'll Begin Trampling You

    He'll Begin Trampling You
    Photo: Beige Alert / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    We all know elephants are huge animals - the largest land mammals on earth. Because of this, one of their most dangerous weapons are their feet. When an elephant kills you, they'll probably use their feet to attack you last, but that can easily be the worst part. Elephants weigh about six tons, and when they rear up and come down on you, they do so with their full weight. They will switch feet, nudge you around, stamp, and kick you. It's at this point you're likely to start to die, though it depends on your injuries how exactly that death will happen.

  • You May Be Thrown A Great Distance

    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

    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.