The elephant is not only one of the largest animals in the world but also one of the strongest. An elephant can weigh up to 8 tons. One thing you cannot refute is that despite its size and might, it is a very endearing animal. Elephants are distinguished by their massive bodies, huge ears and a long trunk. They are noble nature respected and valued in many places around world like Asia and Africa. And elephant tattoos have become very popular around the world. However, the meaning of elephant tattoo is not clear to many people. Elephant tattoos mean different things to different people around the world. Here is a list of its meanings among which you may not know.

Elephant Tattoo Meaning

If you readily connect with the elephant’s significance and role in nature, then there is a good chance that you like elephant tattoos. Most people who have elephant tattoos consider it more than a tattoo. They see it as a connection or bond with Mother Earth. Elephants embody a number of traits including:

Power, Strength and Peace

While the elephant is an enormous animal with immense strength, it has a very quiet and even temper unless provoked. This in itself is symbolic of its powerful and dominating force that prefers to keep peace. Elephants are more often than not very calm unless they sense danger.


Success, Good Luck, Wisdom and Communication

The elephant is also a symbol of success in the Hindu religion. Lord Ganesha is a well known Hindu god that has the head of an elephant. He is the god of Success. The Hindu believe that Ganesha brings good luck and moves obstacles out of the way if you are pure of heart and intent. Ganesha is also a patron deity of sciences and arts. He is considered to have great wisdom and discernment. In alchemy, the elephant is also considered to represent commerce, communication and shrewd discernment which is among the most common elephant tattoo meaning.


Family, Community and Maternal

Elephants are very loyal and protective of the members of their herd. While they may seem somewhat unassuming, they live a very ordered life with a unique social structure and hierarchy. Female elephants usually band together in herds of up to 400 elephants to raise their offspring. Male elephants often roam alone.



In some cultures, the elephant is considered as a symbol of fertility. The strength and sheer size of this creature is said to give a boon to the male libido. When in a rut, male elephants usually become angry and vicious very easily. These strong emotions are associated with the raw sexual tension between a female and a male.


Chastity, Patience, Consideration and Devotion

An elephant is the perfect symbol of chastity according to Aristotle. He wrote that the elephant abstains from sex for the two years that the mate is pregnant. This not only highlights its chaste but also its consideration, patience and thoughtful devotion to relationships.



In India and Tibet, the elephant is considered to have played a role in creation. In fact, ancient writings claim that an elephant holds up the entire universe. In ancient architecture, an elephant is depicted holding up huge structures in foundation stonework and pillars. This is symbolic of the stabilizing characteristic of the elephant and its role in keeping the world in place.



Elephants tend to live a very long life. For this reason, the Romans thought that the elephant was a legendary creature. They believed that the elephant was a symbol of longevity, immortality and harmony with nature.


Symbols of Clouds

Elephants have also been associated with clouds. Though the connection is somewhat farfetched, there are cultures that believed elephants to have symbolized clouds. Some even believed that elephants created the clouds. Maybe the reason is their large, grey and slow nature.


Elephant and Buddhism

Elephants are strongly linked to Buddhism. Buddha used the rare white elephant for his incarnations. The white elephant is considered the most sacred among the elephant species. A story is told of Buddha’s mother that she dreamt that a white elephant had entered her womb. Thus white elephant makes a great choice for maternal tattoo as it symbolizes wisdom and fertility.


Other symbolic elephant tattoo meanings

  • Prosperity

  • Nobility

  • Happiness

  • Determination

  • Memory

  • Invincibility

  • Compassion

Elephant Tattoo Ideas

Design ideas

  • When picking an elephant tattoo design, you can either go with a simple design or opt for a more elaborate one. For example, you can have a simple silhouette of the elephant or have a more detailed tattoo.

  • The more detailed the elephant is, the larger it will be. If you want to have the tattoo in a discrete location, an outline of the elephant is your best bet. If you opt for a more detailed option, you can use henna to enhance the artwork.

  • You could also opt to have more than one elephant drawn. Elephants form some of the tightest bonds in the animal kingdom. In fact, you will often see them walking holding onto each other’s trunks. Such a tattoo would be a great symbol of loyalty and friendship.

  • You can get the tattoo in a variety of colors. The tattoos can also be drawn in a variety of styles including tribal, Polynesian and Maori art. The tattoo artist can also use water color ink to give elephant tattoo a unique look.

For more elephant tattoo design ideas, click here

Placement ideas

You can have the tattoo on your back, wrist, knee, shoulder, ribs, ankle, inner arm, upper arm, back of the neck, sleeve and any other part of the body. Wherever you choose, you can rest assured that it will look wonderful if done by a professional.

You should be wary about where you place the tattoo. Do not just jump on a trend. Consider whether you will be comfortable having it where you want it in the future. Will it affect your prospects for employment later in life? Are you relocating to another country where the elephant tattoo meaning may be different?

You should also realize that the tattoo will take some time to heal and may at times develop complications so you do not want it in a part of the body that you use on a day-to-day basis like your fingers. The elephant tattoo is usually perfect on the shoulder blades, chest, forearm or the trunk of the leg.


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