Home » 20 Giant Elephant Tattoo Ideas with Meanings

20 Giant Elephant Tattoo Ideas with Meanings

One of the most popular animal considerations for a tattoo is the elephant. Elephant tattoos are famous because of their beauty and great significance. In this article, you’ll learn elephants are revered for their many lovable traits. You’re also going to witness 20 inspiring elephant tattoos.

So, why are elephants incredibly revered as a symbol and a choice for a tattoo? For starters, elephants in the wild are known for their ability to form astonishingly strong social bonds. In herds, they go out of their way and help each member out. Besides their definite social structure, these fantastic animals have their herds headed by female matriarchs (usually the oldest female member). Interestingly, the male counterparts within the herd move away as they grow older. So, in essence, the members that remain are the mothers, sisters, and daughters. Thus, if you’re looking for a valid feminist symbol tattooed on your body, look no further than an elephant tattoo.

What are Elephants Known For?

Elephants are also famous for their giant measurements. Everything on them is enormous. This includes their heads, feet, organs, and even the tusks. The irony of it all is that their demeanor is in stark contrast to their massive size — the demeanor is exceptionally calm. Perhaps the best description to describe these fabulous animals in little words is, they’re “gentle giants.”

An article on elephant tattoos without mentioning the animal’s USP, its trunk, is an article with a missing plot. The elephant trunk is undoubtedly one of nature’s most creative and multifunctional display pieces. The tusks are an extension of the upper lip and nose. It helps the elephant in grasping things and food. It also does breathing, feeding, sniffing, sound creation, dusting, drinking, light, and heavy lifting, and sensing. Yet, most importantly, it’s the flexible shield of the elephant — used for protection and overall defense. One word that best describes the trunk is “amazing.”

Elephant Tattoos

#1. Fading Elephant Tattoo

Fading Elephant Tattoo
Source: @roryd198 via Instagram

Men prefer this tattoo design. They get it for either their thigh or upper arm. The inclination is to go for a realistic elephant or one close to it. The elephant is tattooed halfway to give the effect it’s painted directly on your skin.

#2. Watercolor Technique Elephant Tattoos

Watercolor Technique Elephant Tattoos
Source: @poncelas_qus via Instagram

The watercolor technique of tattooing adds a lot of fun, elegance, and glory to most tattoo designs. The above elephant tattoo is no exception. It looks gorgeous and can suit both men and women. In the above case, the man’s thigh has a watercolor elephant tattoo that is inked halfway in typical black and grey shading. The style is artsy and unique that way.

#3. Elephant Tattoo on Ribs

Elephant Tattoo on Ribs
Source: @luceroferri via Instagram

Due to its relatively larger size, an elephant tattoo can work as an incredible tattoo coverup option. As seen above, the elephant head is shaded in grey. Further, there’s a thick black outline to make the design visual from afar. The circular and triangular backdrop can aid the coverup. Else, it can be for making the piece more appealing.

#4. Elephant and Flowers Tattoo

Elephant and Flowers Tattoo
Source: @nathanieltattoo via Instagram

An elephant and flowers tattoo can be for both men and women. This type of tattoo packs quite a visual punch. The pink flowers contrast nicely with the traditional look of the black and grey elephant head. The artist has done an excellent job at the superb shading work.

#5. Small Elephant Tattoo on Calf

Small Elephant Tattoo on Calf
Source: @tattoos_byruben via Instagram

If you think large elephant tattoos are cute, you’ll be speechless at baby elephant tattoo images such as the above. These more miniature depictions can be placed in a range of body placements, including the calf, as shown above.

#6. Elephant Tattoo on Chest

Elephant Tattoo on Chest
Source: @timmy.becker via Instagram

The above chest piece depicts an elephant head. Other bits of its natural habitat (leaves) are the additional element. The bold, black background helps bring out the detailing of the main piece—the elephant. This design looks perfect as it covers the entire pectoral muscle.

#7. Elephant Tattoo on Back

Elephant Tattoo on Back
Source: @mollypaigetattoos via Instagram

If you love elephants, you won’t be afraid to have one permanently on your upper back, where it shows most. The upper back is an incredible place to show off a large tattoo. The symbolism of having an elephant here is pride and strength.

#8. Grey & Black Elephant Tattoo

Grey & Black Elephant Tattoo
Source: @studioblack.se via Instagram

A lot of folks prefer their elephant tattoo to be in grey and black. That preference is in line with the natural color of elephants, which is grey. So, if you want the original deal, go for this option.

#9. Realistic African Elephant

Realistic African Elephant
Source: @karsten.koch via Instagram

The African Elephant is the largest mammal living on land, and the above realistic piece inked on the arm is the perfect homage to this extraordinary species. Most interesting is how the artist has brought the giant tusks to the forefront in this design.

#10. Mother & Child Elephant Tattoo

Mother & Child Elephant Tattoo
Source: @gioiamelis_art via Instagram

The above image shows an adorable tattoo of a baby elephant with its mom. This particular option is terrific for females. Placement wise the ideal locations are the outer forearm, center upper back, or thighs.

#11. Baby Elephant Outline Tattoo

Baby Elephant Outline Tattoo
Source: @crowned_tattoo via Instagram

A simplistic, outline elephant tattoo can be as eyeball grabbing as any other. The above baby elephant outline is super cute and meaningful. As mentioned in the intro, the elephant herd headed by the eldest female family member has other females and babies. This baby is fully protected and defended by its emotional, social herd members.

#12. Indian Passenger Elephant Tattoo

Indian Passenger Elephant Tattoo
Source: @jasonprofant via Instagram

There are two varieties of elephants most known to humanity—the Indian and African kind. The above image shows the Indian variety. The colorful, decorated cloth and ornamental decoration along its head represent the rich Indian handcrafted art. Passengers usually ride these elephants to get from one place to the other. Therefore, you can think of this tattoo as a representation of the human and elephant friendship.

#13. Elephant Head Tattoo

Elephant Head Tattoo
Source: @tattoosbyguero via Instagram

Elephants have immense compassion and foresight. And that’s what elephant head tattoos signify. The traits that you can look forward to exemplifying through your elephant head tattoo include wisdom, intelligence, caring, and being liberal. Since the head is in focus, the artist generally wants to add detail and color to make it as vibrant as possible.

#14. Tattoo of Elephant Family

Tattoo of Elephant Family
Source: @sidcout via Instagram

Elephants hang around in the jungle within their families, each with a gentle demeanor. They make this a ritual till their offspring grow up fully. That unbreakable bond is what makes the elephants a sought-after tattoo option. Interestingly, elephants mourn the deceased family members, particularly younger ones, and visit their graves much like humans. So, if you want a symbol of family bonding and strength, the elephant is a great option.

#15. “Quotation” Elephant Tattoo

“Quotation” Elephant Tattoo
Source: @tattoosby_xray via Instagram

In the above calf piece, the animated baby elephant is flying with the help of a helium balloon tied to its head. The quote “anywhere” signifies you can be anywhere your heart desires. It’s one world, and all living beings are to be considered equal.

#16. Mandala Elephant Tattoo

Mandala Elephant Tattoo
Source: @clean_slate_tattoo via Instagram

A Mandala elephant tattoo is one of my favorite options. It’s the symbolism of two great spiritual cultures—Buddhism and Hinduism. The meanings stemming from these two cultures include power, fertility, and prosperity as per Hinduism and peace and wisdom based on Buddhism. The cultural aspect of this design is one aspect, yet the aesthetic element is another inspiring reason to opt for Mandala elephant tattoos.

#17. Elephant Thigh Tattoo

Elephant Thigh Tattoo
Source: @ironpalmtattoos via Instagram

The thigh is an excellent placement for an elephant tattoo, especially the upper side, on the front side. This placement is quite close to the beginning of the hips. Women love an elephant placed here because it makes them look sexy. Think of the elephant as an hourglass figure that accentuates the woman’s curves.

#18. Elephant God (Lord Ganesha) Tattoo

Elephant God (Lord Ganesha) Tattoo
Source: via Instagram

The Hindu deity Ganesha (a.k.a. Vinayaka, Binayak, or Ganpati) resembles a four-armed elephant. The deity is known for its power of removing obstacles. The above tattoo of Lord Ganesha is featured immaculately as a complete sleeve design. It’s a beautiful piece having intricate detailing.

#19. Tribal Elephant Tattoo

Tribal Elephant Tattoo
Source: @hen_tattooer via Instagram

The above tattoo is a tribal tattoo of Lord Ganesha. It’s a colored tribal tattoo. That’s unique because typical tribal art is black and white. The tattoo is on the inner forearm to remind the wearer they’re under the protection and blessings of Lord Ganesha at all times. Good fortune is on the way!

#20. Geometric Elephant Tattoo

Geometric Elephant Tattoo
Source: @mollymurrayink via Instagram

The internet has fantastic geometric tattoos. Geometric design elephant tattoos are among the trendiest because their angular shapes add a touch of modernity and futurism. Moreover, these tattoos are often not standalone. Instead, you’ll find them combined with other geometric figures like humans, birds, and other animals.

Symbolism of Elephant Tattoos

To understand what elephant tattoos mean to most people, one needs to know the characteristics of the great animal. An elephant is a sensitive and emotional animal. These animals mourn their young if the young are found dead. This shows how compassionate they are.

Fellow elephants show a strong bond with each other. Whenever you see a tattoo of two elephants with their trunks entwined, the symbolism is love and companionship (or friendship). They protect and defend each other till death does them apart. That’s how much feeling and care each elephant has for other members of the herd.

The symbolism changes across cultures. For example, elephants represent luck and wisdom as per the Hindu faith. That string of meanings is aligned with the Hindu god Ganesha, who is a highly worshiped god. Ganesha blesses his followers with fortune and incredible luck, and prosperity. Need any further reasoning to opt for an elephant tattoo?


Q. What are the best placements for elephant tattoos?

Ans. The shoulders, chest, back, forearms, and legs are among the most popular body placements. However, elephant tattoos can be placed on any other body area.

Q. How much does an elephant tattoo cost?

Ans. The factors that determine the price of an elephant tattoo are the size, design, and style. Further, the experience and talent of the artist also influence their per hour rate, and thus, the overall cost of the tattoo. That said, the simplest elephant tattoos range between $60 to $75. Larger pieces can run into hundreds of smackeroos.

Q. What do elephant tattoos mean?

Ans. If you go by the Hindu deity principle, a Lord Ganesha (Elephant God) tattoo means wisdom, luck, and prosperity. But generally, elephants are associated with love and friendship. These are all positive traits, which is why many people go for elephant tattoos, notwithstanding what their cultural upbringing is.

Q. Do elephant tattoos bring bad luck to the wearer?

Ans. The answer to this question is a definite “NO!” On the contrary, elephants are considered lucky and bring prosperity. In other words, if you want to stay a long way away from bad luck, you need to get yourself an elephant tattoo!


That was my take on elephant tattoos. Elephants are among my favorite animals. If you’ve seen the animated flick “The Jungle Book,” you’ve seen what these social/emotional animals are all about, especially when they go out in herds. Further, if you’re debating what animal your next tattoo should be, the above images are sure to give you a giant dose of inspiration. Furthermore, the artist/source is mentioned beneath each image so that you can explore more work by each talented artist directly.

About Author

Jonathan Corby "Jonny" is a guy who is passionate about Tattooing and successfully running a Tattoo Studio in NY. Through my journey as a Tattoo Artist I have made unforgettable memories. This irrational poetry and sense of freedom of art on skin has given a blissfull experience to my life. Each Tattoo has a story behind it; Lets share one!