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Are Elephants Dangerous? Are They Aggressive to Humans?

Elephants are massive mammals with enormous strength, making humans look much weaker in a confrontation. However, are elephants a threat to humans? Do they like to attack us and show us aggression? Find out in this piece.

Are Elephants Dangerous to Humans?

Elephants are naturally not dangerous to humans and will stay away from us if we maintain our distance. They only become very dangerous when threatened, provoked, or hurt. In rare instances, humans suffer attacks without provoking the huge mammals.

It is generally advised never to approach elephants in the wild, even if they are calves, as a very protective mother may just be lurking.

Are Elephants Aggressive?

Elephants can be aggressive when threatened, are suffering from musth, or just want to be silly for no reason.

Getting too close to elephants can lead to them charging at you, which can be dangerous. Female elephants with very young calves are also a tad aggressive and can attack humans perceived to be uncomfortably close.

Adolescent elephants with no guiding family herd are also likely to show aggression towards animals and humans in the wild.

In captivity, elephants are relatively used to human interaction and are calm when touched. They have the lowest risk of showing aggression.

Do Elephants Kill Other Animals?

Elephants can kill other animals, especially intending predators who try to attack a vulnerable member of the herd. The entire group will charge the predator and try to stomp it.

During musth, male elephants can chase every living thing in the wild and kill the unlucky ones they catch. They can even kill other vulnerable elephants in their own family.

Also read: Types of Elephants: Learn About The Different Species and Subspecies of Elephants

Aggressive elephant

Do Elephants Kill People?

Elephants can kill people when they are threatened and stressed. Some even carry out a raid in small villages. Elephants kill people in India more than anywhere else globally.

An average of 200 people are killed in India annually, while 200 people are killed in Kenya every seven years.

How Do Elephants Kill Humans?

Elephants kill humans by launching an attack with their heads. They also stomp humans to hurt and kill them. However, it is important to understand that elephants only occasionally attack humans without provocation.

Most attacks are motivated by humans deliberately or unconsciously threatening elephants.

Also read: What Do Elephants Eat? What is Their Favorite Food?

What Are Elephants’ Temperament?

Elephants are peaceful and docile animals who only care about themselves and their families. They are tolerant of humans who keep their distance and will not attack other animals that do not threaten them.

Elephants are only ever aggressive when fighting off a predator or when threatened by humans. Mother elephants are a little more aggressive than other elephants as they are overly protective of calves.

What is Musth in Elephants?

Musth is a seasonal condition that affects male elephants (bulls) and makes them act violently toward everyone around them.

Bulls’ testosterones are 60 to 140 times higher than average when going through this condition. They physically secrete a foul-smelling secretion called temporin from their temporal gland at the side of their head.

Elephant musth

Male elephants suffering musth suffer acute pain close to their eyes, which is believed to contribute to their increased aggressiveness. The pain can be so bad that the suffering elephant will dig its tusk into the ground for relief.

Elephants in musth will attack animals and humans unprovoked to kill and maim. They can kill their calves, chase away non-receptive females, and establish unhealthy dominance in an entire area.

The problem of musth in elephants is why most training centers only breed female elephants, as bulls can kill handlers when suffering from the condition.

Also read: What Eats Elephants? Discover Elephants’ Predators

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Elephants See Humans?

Elephants acknowledge humans the same they do other animals in the wild. They tolerate us if we maintain our distance and do not try to show dominance. If we take a threatening stance, they will respond as a herd, which could lead to a serious situation that could be life-threatening.

Can Any Animal Kill an Elephant?

Some animals can kill elephants. Elephants do not have any natural predators and can confront any threat apart from firearm-wielding humans in Adulthood. However, as calves, elephants have predators that could attack and kill them. Crocodiles, Lions, Hyenas, Tigers, and Wild Dogs predate calves and growing elephants.

How Many People Do Elephants Kill a Year?

Elephant-related deaths are not very common, but it does happen. India is the country most hit with elephant-related fatalities. There is an average of 100 fatalities caused by elephants in India alone. Kenya follows India in fatality statistics with over 200 deaths every 7 years. Annually, elephants kill less than 300 people.

Do Elephants Bite?

Elephants do not bite humans when they attack. They charge at full speed and hope to hit us with their trunk. Missing your step during an elephant attack is very dangerous as these huge mammals have a history of stomping a target of anger. In most cases, you will need to provoke an elephant to want to fight you.

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