Elephant gives birth

This video of an elephant giving birth gets a little intense at the moment of actual delivery and immediately thereafter, but it also made my heart swell in my chest. There is something just goddamned wonderful about mammal and avian reproduction (insects and bacteria not so much), and it's not just the insanely awesome sight of the baby elephant clambering to its feet and grinning like a holy fool.

Not sure what the narration's like (it's 5AM here in London and everyone's asleep, so I'm on mute), but the visuals are a strong and healing tonic.

Elephant Birth - The Dramatic Struggle for Life (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)


  1. That birth was remarkably dramatic; wow. Sitting and watching the video I found myself saying “C’mon.. get up.. get up!” under my breath. I can’t imagine how amazing it would be to see this for myself.

  2. Wonderful video Cory. To give you a feel for the soundtrack, think Jungle drums with ambient synth, and narration hitting around 7 on the Crocodile Hunter Aussieness scale.

  3. Many invertebrates have wonderful reproduction processes too! I encourage you to watch the leopard slug mating scene in David Attenborough’s “Life in the Undergrowth.” It’s beautiful!

  4. Birthing is an incredible thing, but honestly, the only thing I could think of while watching this initially is, “OH MY GODS THAT POOR ELEPHANT’S VAGINA!”



  5. Where are the doctors? The midwives? The monitoring paddles? The gas? The spinal tap? The sterile swabs? The immediate separation and wrapping?

    Great video. Thanks for finding/sharing.

  6. Watching giraffes give birth is also pretty stunning. The calf drops about 2 meters onto the floor, then has to try and stand on very spindly legs.

  7. Truely a moving thing to experience. Birthing as a natural normal part of life. i LOVE the trust the Elephant’s care givers give her body, they KNOW that she can do this. If only Western medicine had the same faith in the human mothers body.

  8. What’s with the concrete floor! A natural surface might have made her’s and the baby’s experience easier. The poor baby probably had a concussion.

    1. I agree with the comment/questions posted about why is the mother giving birth on a cement floor?!? I think the baby was stunned and could of died due to the trauma of the fall onto the cement! Where is the soft straw or even dirt to cushion the fall? The baby needs extra traction under her feet while being encouraged to stand up. Slimy cement does not cut it! Who is the caretaker of this poor animal? The owner needs to have his head and animal licence re-examined. (sheesh)

      The man said the birth was “very simple” and “No screaming” I could only but shake my head at this statement. Giving birth HURTS! If you notice during the birth the mother had her mouth gaped open as if to be letting out a slient scream! Amimals don’t usually make any sound while giving birth but anyone with a brain can see the pain etched onto every mothers face while giving birth.

      I did enjoy seeing how a mother elephant gives birth but next time use an appropriate floor base. How many elephant mothers give birth on cement out in the wild?

    1. YES! I have seen a wonderful in the wild elephant birth where about 8 females surrounded the birthing mother, they matched her sway and cadence, stroked her with their trunks and got face to face with her. It was AMAZING! wish I could find it again.

  9. I have to say, that is not where I was expecting the elephant’s vagina to be.

    I figured the baby would be coming out the back, right under the tail, like with cows.

    Also, I never appreciated the genetic link between elephants and aardvarks until I saw that baby.

  10. Oh lordy. Thank you for writing that the baby does, in fact, get up at some point. Watching that little guy just lay there before he starts to breathe… well, it reminded me of births I’ve witnessed and the universal holding of our breath as we wait for that new one to take their first.

    So cool.

  11. The mother kicking at the baby to get it up and moving seemed terribly rough until I saw the stats at the end, and realized that the newborn weighed as much as a football player.

  12. @MKB Ditto. I was super-surprised it was so far down below. I started wondering what conception must be like.

    Also, I was even more surprised that the elephant baby is not born with an umbilical cord (or perhaps the fall is so abrupt it is immediately torn-yea that makes more sense). So what happened to ancient human women?

  13. Just today I had a patron in the library saying about how she was dispirited that the internet seemed to give the crazies another platform and how, when she was younger, she’d hoped it would be more about discovery and wonder than more of the same old jive.

    Things like this, a sight that 10 or 15 years ago you’d be very lucky to see even on video and almost never see in person (at least outside of the elephant’s habitat) are freely accessible by anyone. That’s is SO worth a million shouty-heads online calling each other names.

    Thanks Cory, that was beautiful.

  14. Oh. My. God. After getting past the actual birth with my lunch intact (barely), and then going through the mother kicking it (my heart sunk at that point where she lets out a big bellow just before the narrator says that she’s worried), was very relieved that it’s a happy ending..
    I haven’t even had a 2 hour movie take me through that range on emotions!
    Absolutely awesome video.. That’s what the internet is all about..

  15. Why is this elephant giving birth onto a concrete floor instead of soft, grassy earth? Perhaps this has something to do with why the baby slips and slides as it is trying to stand. Thanks for the comments about the no fuss, no bother birth. I defy the male commentator to go through birth himself.

  16. Mommy Elephant with anger management issues to seconds old baby: “I didn’t carry you around for 10+ months just to see you pop out to laze around! Get your butt up and learn to walk NOW!! Or I’ll keep yelling and kicking! I have no room in my trunk and too much junk in my trunk on my rear, so you better WALK, Ele!”

  17. wow thats nice, I wonder why they are on a cement floor, thats a hard surface! Leave it to man…whe shouldve had the pleasure of being in her own dirt floored enviornment, i think.

  18. great bit- the DUDE who says “Very simple…..no screaming”….guess he was at birth of one of his children and he found it offensive

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