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Are Elephants Friendly? Do Elephants Like Humans?

are elephants friendly

Are Elephants Friendly? Do Elephants Like Humans?

Elephants are the largest land animals on the planet, and they are seen as one of the strongest. However, they are known as gentle giants, which begs the question, are elephants friendly?

Yes, elephants can be friendly to humans if they grow up with people in their environment. They can also be nice if they are in captivity, where they have a lot of interactions with people. They are less likely to be aggressive in such situations compared to those that are used to the wild.

However, you should remember that elephants are wild animals that cannot be fully domesticated.

Are Elephants Friendly to Humans?

Elephants are known to be quite gentle with other living beings even when they are in the wild. They go out of their way not to hurt other beings, including humans, unless provoked. This comes from the fact that they are quite intelligent, being the animals with the largest brains and memory.

Elephants that have grown up in areas with many people can be friendly to them and will not hurt them. There have been instances where they even help humans when they are in need. These elephants can live in peace with human beings without any side feeling threatened.

Are Wild Elephants Friendly?

Wild elephants, too, have the conscience not to want to harm other animals when they don’t feel like they are in danger. Yet, they can be pretty dangerous when they feel threatened. They may attack humans as well as other animals that try to invade their space. Sometimes they may not launch a full attack on other animals; instead, they may only pretend to do so to scare them out of their area. 

It is essential not to try and befriend wild elephants since they are unpredictable though they may not always attack humans. While they may approach you, especially smelling you with their trunks, you should still be careful.

Elephants live in families that are headed by a matriarch who is in charge of the entire herd. They defend one another when they feel they are in danger, so the attack may come from a different animal.

Are Baby Elephants Friendly?

Of all the elephants that you could befriend, baby elephants are the friendliest. They have the innocence of babies, so they are less likely to cause any harm to human beings. However, be careful when playing with them since they may not know their strength, so they could easily crush you. They are very affectionate and playful; hence, you can also feed them without feeling threatened.

While baby elephants are curious and friendly, it is essential to be careful when interacting with them in the presence of adults. One of the reasons elephants can be aggressive is when protecting their young ones.

Your interaction with baby elephants could be interpreted as an attack, so a wild adult will likely charge towards you. You are most likely safe when dealing with elephants in a conservation area since they are most used to being in the company of people and are less likely to attack you.

Read Also: Can Elephants Swim In Deep Water?

Do Elephants Like Humans?

There is this myth that elephants think that humans are cute and harmless; this is just that, a myth. Elephants in the wild see human beings as a threat, especially since many of them have had bad encounters with people. Therefore, elephants in the wild do not like humans, just like they may not like other animals.

However, elephants in conservation areas have grown up seeing human beings, so they like them. They identify humans as an essential part of their survival which is why they don’t have any problems with them. Elephants know that humans are the source of their food and treats; hence they are likely to be more at ease with them.

Elephants have been known to develop a special relationship with the humans that they often interact with. This includes any people that come to visit them often and their caretakers. They act affectionately towards these people since they identify them as close allies who may not harm them.

This is, however, only the case with tamed animals; wild elephants are different and view people differently. They may feel threatened by the presence of humans, especially if they approach them. They could also be curious about them, so they could try to smell them with their trunks.

Related: Are Cheetahs Friendly?

Do Elephants Remember Humans?

Yes, elephants remember human beings that they have encountered in the past. This is the case due to their large brain, which increases their memory beyond average, so they don’t forget. So, if this animal meets someone when they are young, they can identify them even when they are older. Furthermore, they are more likely to be affectionate to such people who they know from memory.

They not only remember people who were good to them and took care of them. Elephants also remember those people who hurt them or caused them any level of hurt, whether they met them when they were young or older. Therefore, they may be aggressive towards such people when they identify them. This is common in elephants that are in captivity and being trained by people to perform tricks for entertainment.

Their good memory not only helps them identify people that they know but aids them in their survival. They can remember watering holes, specific paths, burial spots, and other elephants that they have met in their life.

An elephant’s large brains also make them empathetic to others, so they will try to help their sick and even soothe babies when they cry. It is also responsible for them mourning their dead due to their ability to remember.

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How Do Elephants Show Affection?

Since elephants are empathetic, they have the ability to show affection to each other and other people. They use their body parts to show that they love someone or that the animal is essential to them.


The end of an elephant’s trunk is more sensitive than any other part of its body. It has over 100,000 muscles and tendons that make it strong and flexible so it can wrap around someone. They use their trunks to show affection by wrapping them around another elephant’s trunk. Elephants also use this vital body part to stroke each other on the head or back when consoling another animal.


Other than the loud trumpeting of an elephant, they also produce different sounds that they use to show affection to humans and other animals. For example, they can make a soft rumbling that shows they are relaxed and comfortable around the person. Another way is through a soothing purr-like sound that they use when around people they love. It shows pleasure and that they are enjoying the company of each other.


Just like their name, the gentle giants, elephants are brilliant and caring animals, especially when they get used to having humans in their space. They behave in different ways when they encounter various people, thanks to their large brains. You can tell what they are feeling by the way they use their trunks, their vocalization, and even their body language. It is essential that you respect the elephant’s space to avoid any conflict.

Thank you for reading. I hope this article has helped you understand elephant behavior and answer the question “are elephants friendly?”

If you enjoyed this post, I would like to recommend you read an article on a similar topic – Are Tigers Friendly?

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