Elephant Tattoos: A Handy Guide To Everything You Need To Know


Animal tattoos are very common nowadays and people from all walks of life sport different kinds of animal tattoos due to different purposes.

Both male and females like to get animal tattoos and elephants are one of the most common kinds of animals that people get tattooed.

Elephant Tattoos – A Brief Description Of Elephants

An elephant is the both the biggest and the strongest animal on land in the animal kingdom and most people get elephant tattoos simply because elephants represent strength and dominance among other creatures in the wild.

While being the strongest and most dominant land animal on the planet, elephants are also very intelligent, extremely graceful, and can sometimes even be considered as tempered.

Elephants are also known to not be aggressive unless they are provoked.

Lastly, elephants are social animals that are incredibly loyal to each other and they are known to care for one another similarly to how humans do.

Many people even claim that elephants possess feelings like humans and feel compassion, anger, and fear just like we do.

Because of how elephants are, they are considered sacred in many cultures. The Hindu god Ganesha is an example of an elephant that is worshiped by millions of Hindu devotees.

Why People Get Elephant Tattoos

There are several different kinds of elephant tattoos and each kind of elephant tattoo has its own different meaning.

Some people have elephant tattoos done for religious purposes while some people just like to put an elephant tattoo design on their skin.

Every person gets a tattoo for a different purpose and one may wonder why a particular person may sport an elephant tattoo.

We’ve written this article in order to explain everything regarding the matter and tell you everything that you need to know about elephant tattoos!

Meanings Of Elephant Tattoos

Like I said earlier, people from all walks of life get elephant tattoos due to different reasons.

Being highly respected animals in Chinese, African, and Indian cultures, a person from each of the three descents that I have mentioned may have tattooed an elephant for a different reason and thus have a different meaning.

Elephant Tattoos Design Ideas

There is an unlimited number of ways in which one can have an elephant tattooed. There are very large and complex elephant tattoo designs while there are also some very small and simple designs.

A tattoo design is something that every person chooses and choosing the right design for yourself is very important because as we all know, a tattoo is something that is permanent and will last a lifetime.

You would want to choose an elephant tattoo design that is relevant to you as you would not want other people to get the wrong idea about your personality.

Always remember that a tattoo is a symbol of your personality, hence, it is important that you get your tattoo done in a design that is in line with your individuality.

We know that there is an unlimited number of designs and a variety of ways you can get your elephant tattoo done, but we are here to help you decide what elephant design is best for you.

Below we’ve decided to create a list of elephant tattoos and explain the different meanings of these tattoos below!

• Lord Ganesha

Lord Ganesha is an incredibly powerful Hindu God that symbolizes success within the Hindu Religion.

Aside from success, people get Lord Ganesha tattooed in order to represent shrewdness and wisdom as it is said that Lord Ganesha possesses these traits.

Most people think that only Indians are Hindus but that is a common misconception as Hinduism is also the dominant religion in Nepal, Mauritius and is a major religion in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Trinidad and Tobago, and many other countries especially in Africa.

Hinduism is also a growing religion around the world and people who adhere to Hinduism are the most likely people to have Lord Ganesha tattooed on their bodies.

Don’t think that only people who adhere to Hinduism get Ganesha tattooed on their bodies.
Many people from all over the world who aren’t Hindus also get Lord Ganesha tattooed on their bodies simply because of aesthetics or their belief in the attributes of the said Hindu god.

• Polynesian And Native Elephants

Although Elephants aren’t native to Polynesia, many Polynesian cultures have diverged from their original ancient tattoo designs and have developed new designs that have incorporated elephants due to the animal’s said attributes.

Like Polynesians, Native Americans that have ancient traditions in tattooing have set asunder from their ancient native tattoo designs and have incorporated elephants into their tattooing.

Tribal patterned Native American and Polynesian tattoos are most commonly found in Cherokee and Haida cultures.

Both of the cultures that I have stated above have developed tribal elephant tattoos for the same reason; to symbolize a deep connection to nature.

• A Band Of Elephants

As we said earlier, elephants are similar to humans as they are very social animals that depend on each other and stick to one another through thick and thin.

There have even been sightings of elephants traveling in herds of over 400 individuals. If that doesn’t represent family, then I don’t know what else does.

Aside from elephants, there are only a few animals that are as social. These animals include dolphins, crocodiles, and a number of different species of birds.

All of these animals may be social but they do not possess the strength and dominance that elephants have.

People who get a band of elephant tattoos tattooed on their skin want to showcase that they have a deep connection to family, their friends, their community, or have a maternal instinct.

• A White Elephant

The white elephant is a big symbol in the Buddhist religion as is it considered very sacred because it appeared in the dream of the mother of Buddha himself.

Buddha’s mother dreamed dreamt that the white elephant appeared within her womb and thus this caused the white elephant to become a symbol of fertility and wisdom.

In Thailand, where the white elephant is most commonly revered and tattooed, it is called “chang samkhan” which roughly translates in English to “the auspicious elephant”.

Aside from Buddha’s mother dreaming of the white elephant in her womb, the color white is considered as a symbol of purity and chastity in many cultures; especially in the cultures of both Buddhism and Hinduism.

Hinduism and Buddhism both originated in South Asia which is why both religions revere the white elephant so significantly.

While Buddhist believe that the white elephant symbolizes wisdom and fertility, Hindus relate the white elephant to the God Indra who is said to be the god of lightning, the heavens, river flows, storms, and thunder.

Indra is said to ride a white elephant known as Airavata which is said to have wings and be able to fly.

We can compare Indra to the European mythological gods such as Zeus, Odin, Jupiter, and Thor as they have similar mythologies and powers.

Jainism is a religion that also reveres Indra as he is thought to be the king of the highest form of heaven which they call “Saudharmakapla”.

Getting a white elephant tattooed on yourself can either mean that you revere Indra, embrace the symbolism that comes with the white elephant, or you merely like the aesthetic and the design of the white elephant that you got tattooed on yourself.

• Realistic Elephant Tattoos

Western tattooing has come a long way thanks to the development of new technologies that allow newer and better tattooing techniques.

Many people choose to tattoo themselves with an elephant in a realistic style because they appreciate the symbolism of the elephant and they do not want to be associated with any other symbol or culture that another style of elephant tattoos may convey.

Only very experienced and talented tattoo artists tattoo realistic elephants as the process of tattooing a realistic elephant can be both very difficult and time-consuming.

Aside from being difficult to tattoo, getting a tattoo of a realistic elephant can be rather expensive as it takes a lot of time, ink, supplies, and other things in order to tattoo in such an elaborate manner.

The cost of getting a realistic tattoo may depend on the artist that is going to do it but it usually costs around $400 to $800 dollars depending on the size of the tattoo.

• Geometric Elephant Tattoos

Geometric tattoos have been around for thousands of years already and they have many symbolic meanings that may differentiate one kind of geometric tattoo from another.

Modern geometrical tattoos are commonly based on mathematical patterns that commonly showcase shapes hidden in nature like an elephant or a wolf, or even a tree.

The oldest geometrical tattoos in the world usually have a connection to spiritual and religious practices which are considered to be sacred to those people who boasted these tattoos.

Most ancient geometric tattoo designs showcase repeating lines in intricate patterns in order to show symmetry and balance.

Today’s geometrical tattoos commonly don’t have any religious or spiritual meaning attached to them, but rather, they represent a person’s personality.

A person who decides to get a geometric elephant tattooed on their skin may like the aesthetic of geometric tattoos or they may also like to incorporate a hidden meaning into their geometrical elephant tattoo – a meaning that is deep and very personal.

If you choose to get a geometric elephant tattoo done on your skin, we recommend that you get it done by a tattoo artist that is experienced and specialized in doing geometric tattoos.

• Traditional Elephant Tattoos

Characterized by simple designs, thick lines, and bright colors, traditional tattoos first originated in the 1900’s when sailors from the British Navy sported them because they wanted to showcase their membership in the navy.

These tattoos were originally done naturally and were hand poked until the invention of the tattoo gun during the early 20th century.

When the tattoo gun was invented, the popularity of traditional tattoos surged and they became the most common kind of tattoo style done.

Most traditional tattoos have designs like roses, ships, birds, and lighthouses, but lately, more and more kinds of designs have popped up and people from all over the globe have gotten elephant tattoos in the traditional style.

I personally love traditional tattoos and almost all of my twenty-seven tattoos are done in the traditional style.

If you decide to get an elephant tattooed in the traditional style, make sure to find the right artist to do it so that the tattoo will be done properly.

Aside from everything that I’ve stated above, be ready for more pain with traditional tattoos as the thick lining of traditional tattoos and their bright colors require a lot of lining and shading over and over again which may really hurt.

• Dali Elephant Tattoos

Salvador Dali was a Spanish surrealist painter who was famous during the 20th century, he was known for his eccentricity which was reflected in both his lifestyle and his artwork which was considered as very unique.

Most Dali elephant tattoos are inspired by his famous painting called Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bumblebee around a Pomegranate a Second before Awakening which was done in 1944.

The painting showcased a small elephant which was supported by long and thin spider legs. Dali’s unique artwork was very pioneering at this time and it was considered very unique.

After Dali’s said painting, he incorporated other kinds of unique elephant representations on his other works.

There are several different kinds of Dali elephant tattoos and many artists have come up with unique designs in Dali’s style that you can choose from.

If you want a Dali elephant tattoo that is unique, you can even have a custom design made by your artist just for you!

Dali elephant tattoos are said to represent masculinity, however, the abstract nature of Deli elephant tattoos tend to not have an exact meaning and their meaning can actually only be left to the person who sports it.

Where To Get Elephant Tattoos Done

Where to get your elephant tattoo done is really up to you. I think deeply and reflect on why you want to get the elephant tattoo done and then think of where you want to place it afterward.

Many people who get Ganesha elephant tattoos get them done as a backpiece in as an expression penance to Lord Ganesha. Aside from getting a Ganesha backpiece, many people also opt to get their Ganesha tattoo done on their sleeves.

Like Ganesha tattoos, Polynesian and Native American elephant tattoos are commonly done as backpieces or as whole sleeve tattoos.

The traditions of both of these cultures usually call for whole body tattoos and when you see a Polynesian or Native American Tattoo done, you can expect it to be medium-sized to very large.

Another popular place to place elephant tattoos besides the back or the sleeves are on the hands and fingers.

While it may sound like a good idea to get your elephant tattoo placed there, we generally don’t recommend it because the small area of placement limits your artist’s ability to properly get the tattoo done.

Getting an elephant tattoo done on your hand or finger also comes with its own set of challenges which include poor healing and fading. We only want what’s best for you and this is why we recommend that you don’t get an elephant tattoo done on your hands or fingers.

For those who want something a little different, some people opt to get elephant tattoos done on their genitals. While it seems weird to get an elephant tattoo done on one’s penis or vagina, some people still do it for personal reasons which can’t be explained.

Most genital elephant tattoos are done on men as the shape of the penis resembles that trunk of an elephant.

We absolutely do not recommend getting elephant tattoos on the genital area of your body but if you decide to get one already, be ready for the pain as people who have gotten tattoos on their genitals have said that getting them done is extremely painful when compared to getting tattooed on other parts of your body.

Elephant Tattoos – In Summary

Now that you know the basics regarding elephant tattoos, you can now decide what kind of tattoo you want to be done on your skin.

We’ve done our best to help you with this article and we wish you the best of luck with the tattoo that you plan on getting. We also would want to remind you that getting a tattoo is a big deal as it is something that would last a lifetime and you won’t be able to remove it easily.

Tattoo removal is always an option but it is often more expensive than getting the tattoo itself and more time-consuming.

Lastly, choose an artist that is experienced and you can trust. If the price is an issue, don’t rush things and save your money in order to get the best tattoo as possible!


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