HOWTO survive an elephant charge

And if you don't know, now you know.



  1. It’s easier to just stop it from charging in the first place — cut up its credit cards.

    1.  In the news today, a local man was trampled by an elephant that escaped from the zoo.  Witnesses say his last words were, “I guess I got that question wrong!”

      1. In the news today, a local man was trampled by an elephant at a tragic circus rampage.  Witnesses say his last words were, “but, I moved so far away from all those zoos!”

    1. I was just about to say that. Combined with the electro-soundtrack and the sensationalist voice-over it´s just nauseating. And it´s not just them, every single American nature or history documentary looks and sounds like a promotional film for 10-year-olds with an attention deficiency disorder. Unwatchable.

      1. I.e. Americans.  Sigh.

        I’d love to get a job with some show I like, say Mythbusters, and work as an auxiliary editor:  I’d basically take all their material (perhaps shoot a few more interviews or order up a few more graphics) and then cut a show for people capable of paying attention to more than 3 minutes of non-commercials at a time.  I bet Mythbusters DVD buyers would choose such a cut 10:1 over the television cut.  You could easily take a show like Mythbusters and produce 10 minutes of physics, chemistry, history, 10 minutes of them figuring out the test and constructing their rigs, and another 10 minutes of shit blowing up.  Instead it’s the American TV formula of: 3 minutes of advertising, 1 minute of show recapping what happened before the commercial break, one minute of something actually happening, then one minute of advertising what will be on after the next commercial break, then 3 minutes of advertising, then…

    1. Perhaps, but when its charging do you want to be thinking “did they mean her left or my left?

          1. The internet has shown me time and again that anything is possible.  If you want loose theories?  Well, there are several travelling Polish circuses. . .

  2. They left out the most interesting part about elephant psychology that tells why this is the correct solution (or, at least, why we think it’s correct…)

  3. Its the same thing with wild cats. If you get jumped by a mountain lion or other cat, you shouldn’t run but instead fight back and yell and make yourself seem as big as possible. If you run, they think you are prey.

    1. But I don’t think elephants see fleeing threats as “prey.” As far as I know, they’re almost always strictly vegan…

      I suspect it is more like a moose, who, when attacking, trample perceived threats until they stop moving. However, I’ve been told you’re supposed to run from moose, specifically moving to get trees between you and them; however, if they knock you down, the old fetal position strategy is advised.

      1. It is true that they are primarily plant eaters, but so are water buffalo and rhinos and I wouldn’t want to encroach on their territory either.

        They have to be aggressive to defeat potential predators, including us.

    2. If you’re jumped by a mountain lion, its jaws are firmly embedded around your neck. Since they’re stealth predators, you don’t see them until they’re on you.

    3. This is also true with dogs.  The worst thing you can do if a dog is threatening you is run.  “Be a tree”: stand perfectly still, say nothing, do not look in their eyes.  Be as boring as possible.

  4. That forest elephant looked pretty little. I’m not sure how well that would work with the big bush elephant. They’ll trample a lion that is ‘yelling’ at them. I’ve seen them rough up a truck as well (honking didn’t do much good). Maybe they should preface the quiz/advice with, “only try this in the jungle in Congo with a charging forest elephant”.

    1. Try this with all wild animals – they can all run faster than you…and will

      What’s to lose?

      1. When a bush elephant shows signs that is going to charge (flapping ears, short rushes towards you) it is really more of a threat. If you heed this warning and get away they usually won’t pursue you as you are no longer perceived as a danger. From the view of an elephant, things moving away from you are non threatening, things moving towards you and making noise are dangerous an need to be smushed into the dirt. When I was charged by a bull elephant in Tanzania I ran away and have lived to type about it.

  5. From the still frame, it looked like “three steps”, not list of options. I wonder how many people will just look at it, won’t bother for the video and meet their elephant completely wrong.

    1.  Next NatGeo vid:  How to disentangle oneself from a charging elephant’s legs!  (With ‘new’ thermal imaging camera tricks!)

  6. One of those super loud rescue whistles is also likely to be a startling and unfamiliar sound. 

  7. Since this is a mama elephant with a baby, I’d describe this as a territorial attack  done out of concern for her offspring. It’s similar to the most common type of bear attack in North America. And the advice is the same. Appear dominant and loud, look always at the mom, not the baby, so she sees you as a territorial rival rather than a threat to her young. Show you are tough, but don’t seem like a child-eating predator. We mammals have a natural empathic link with each other. Just be brave enough to use it and we can all survive.

    I wish that worked with alligators. I happened across a gator nest once near the San Jacinto river. I have never gone gator watching since.

  8. Of course, when considering this advice, we must bear in mind that Michael Fay is stark raving mad.  This doesn’t mean he’s wrong.  It just means we have to ask ourselves if we have the unmitigated crotch to stand and yell at an angry elephant.

  9. Don’t worry about an elephant charging.  He won’t bother you until his batteries are full.
    Now if you see him, unplugging…

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