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Sometimes, you embarrass me.
―Tantor to Terk[src]

Tantor is a major character in Disney's 1999 animated feature film, Tarzan. He is a neurotic and hopelessly phobic African forest elephant and the childhood best friend of Tarzan and Terk.



Tantor is an original character created by Disney for the adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' book Tarzan of the Apes into an animated feature film. The elephant was born by German scriptwriter and design character Harald Siepermann[1]. In March 1996, Siepermann, recently arrived at Disney Studios in Burbank, drew on the neurotic personality of Woody Allen, the actor chosen to be the voice of Tantor during the production of Tarzan[1]. He began by drawing the elephant as a young cub, with large eyes, a small trunk and large ears, making him as cute[1] as the famous little elephant imagined while Walt Disney's lifetime era Dumbo the flying elephant.

The artist was also busy at the same time sketching the humans in the film (the Porters, Jane and his father, and Clayton) before turning his attention back to Tantor in October that year[1].Informed that there was a change of performer with Wayne Knight to do the character, Harald continued to transplant a neurotic and kind personality onto the elephant[1].He drew the head tilted, one eye bigger than the other, a crooked mouth, a bulging trunk at the bridge and a small loop at the end, and two tusks each pointing in a different direction[1].

Sergio Pablos was responsible for overseeing the animation of Tantor in Tarzan[1].The animator remembered his interview with Siepermann with whom he collaborated to create the elephant. The style of animation employed by Sergio makes Tantor, in his physique and species of African forest elephant, very different from his peers in previous Disney Animated Canon, notably Colonel Hathi and his herd of Asian elephants, originally animated by John Lounsbery in The Jungle Book[1]. Sergio and Harald are said to have found inspiration from the red elephants that can be found in André Franquin's 55th Spirou & Fantasio album[1][2]


Originally, actor Woody Allen was cast as Tantor. But Jeffrey Katzenberg convinced him to play the role of "Z" in DreamWorks' first fully CGI animated film, Antz[3]. Allen then left Tarzan and Tantor was taken over by Wayne Knight.


Unlike his two best friends, Tantor is extremely cowardly. He is riddled with various phobias, such as a fear of germs and the unknown. This causes him to go about his days with much caution and hesitation, and can occasionally cause him to fall into fits of panic before cowering in fear. He is nevertheless Tarzan and Terk's most loyal and warm-hearted friend; so much so, that he can become surprisingly bold and daring should his friends fall into danger and need his assistance.

As far as intelligence goes, Tantor doesn't appear too bright. He assumed Tarzan was a sub-species of an elephant, solely due to the fact that they both enjoyed peanuts. Despite this, as seen during his introduction and throughout episodes of the television series, he is very knowledgeable of scientific terms and various phobias, being that he suffers from a large amount of them suggesting that he is in fact highly intelligent.

Physical appearance[]

Tantor is an African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis). He has red-brownish skin. When he was young, his ears are shorter and his tusks didn't grow yet and speaks in a high voice. As an adult, his ears achieve their full size, his tusks are longer and sharper and his voice is noticeably deeper.



Tantor is first seen as a toddler, accompanying his mother at an elephant watering hole at the waterfalls. There, he is reluctant to enter the water out of fears of bacteria, but his mother assures the water is fine. Suddenly, something enters the water, and Tantor assumes it to be a piranha. He warns his mother and her friends, but the "piranha" attacks and causes a stampede. It turns out, the creature was a human child named Tarzan, who is saved by his adoptive gorilla cousin, Terk. Tantor meets the two as Tarzan reveals to be alive, and their friendship grows over the years from there.

At young adulthood, Tantor has apparently left his herd of elephants to reside with Tarzan and Terk's gorilla family. On one particular day, Tantor, along with Terk and the other gorillas, watches Tarzan battle and kill a leopard named Sabor. Later that day, Tarzan goes missing, prompting a search party led by Terk. Tantor tags along and they find a human campsite, albeit abandoned. They explore the area and discover how to make music with the human equipment at hand; Tantor uses a lampshade as a trumpet to accompany Terk's scatting lyrics. Before long, Tarzan arrives, but with another human, shocking Terk and Tantor, while infuriating the gorillas' leader Kerchak. Kerchak declares that the family keeps away from the humans, but Tarzan's curiosity overrides this rule, and he secretly goes out to spend time with Jane and her accomplices.

Later on, Tantor and Terk see Tarzan collect flowers for Jane. Tantor states to Terk states that he's never seen Tarzan so happy, while Terk believes their friend's relationship with Jane will only last a week. When Tarzan asks Tantor and Terk to lure Kerchak out of the gorilla nesting grounds so that Jane and her accomplices can visit and study the family. Tantor is happy to help, but Terk refuses until Tarzan uses pity to convince her otherwise. To distract Kerchak, Tantor disguises his trunk as Jane's father, Archimedes Q. Porter, while Terk disguises herself as Jane. Kerchak spots their disguises and chases after them. The duo eventually runs to the gorilla nesting ground for safety, unintentionally exposing Tarzan's plot.

Tarzan eventually decides that he must live amongst humans, and leaves with Jane on a ship heading to England. Tantor and Terk rush to the beach to bid farewell but are too late. The two mourn the loss of their friend, though Terk tries to hide her sadness with anger. Tantor sees past this and tries to comfort her, though to no avail. They return to the jungle, and as they do, Tantor and Terk hear the cries of Tarzan and believes him to be in trouble. Terk doesn't seem to care, angering Tantor, who finds courage and forces Terk to accompany him on a rescue mission. They hijack the ship and fight off Clayton's thugs to free Tarzan, Jane, and her father. The group then returns to the jungle to battle Clayton and his thugs, who wish to capture and sell the gorillas.

At the end of the film, Tantor and Terk accompany Tarzan to the beach as he prepares to bid farewell to Jane. However, Jane and her father decide to stay in the jungle, much to the delight of both Tarzan and his family. Tantor is last seen alongside Tarzan and Jane, during their vine-swinging finale.

The Legend of Tarzan[]


Tantor in The Legend of Tarzan.

By the time of the series, Jane and Professor Porter had since learned how to communicate with the animals.

Tantor himself played a major part in several episodes. In Tarzan and the Rogue Elephant, a group of elephants moves into the jungle escaping the rogue elephant Mabaya, Tantor becomes a mentor to the young Jabari, who has a strong resemblance to a young Tantor. Another episode, Tarzan and the All-Seeing Elephant focus on Tantor searching for a mysterious deity to elephants high in the mountains. The experience serves to strengthen his friendship with Terk and him eventually, alongside his friends, who sees the deity when he appears before them as a perfectly formed elephant-shaped cloud. In Tarzan and the Rift, Tantor finds a new girlfriend who thinks Terk is loud and obnoxious and forces Tantor to choose between them.

In a compilation of three episodes (Tarzan and the British Invasion, Tarzan and the Volcanic Diamond Mine and Tarzan and the Flying Ace) in Tarzan & Jane, Terk and Tantor are assisting Tarzan and Jane in preparing their first wedding anniversary and preparing the treehouse for the party.

Jim Cummings provides Tantor's voice from the start of this series.

Tarzan II[]


Tantor in Tarzan II.

When a young Tarzan runs away from the gorilla family to try and find his own place in the jungle, a young Tantor and Terk go out to find him and bring him back home. He initially refuses to go back, but when he rescues the two of them from Uto, Kago, and Mama Gunda, they become friends again, and with Kala's arrival onto the scene, they all return home.

Other appearances[]

Tantor is notably the only character from Tarzan to appear on House of Mouse, which was made at the same time as The Legend of Tarzan. He appeared at the end of "The Stolen Cartoons" to help Mickey and friends block off Pete's escape and throw him out of the club. He also appeared in "Donald and the Aracuan Bird".

Tantor appears in the final group photo at the end of Once Upon a Studio, with Tarzan and Jane sitting atop him.

Video games[]

Disney Infinity[]

Tantor appears in the Disney Infinity series as a mode of transportation for playable characters, being available as a Power Disc.

Disney Parks[]

Disneyland Resort[]

A golden Tantor float was featured in the former Disneyland parade, Parade of the Stars, which was ridden by Tarzan.

Hong Kong Disneyland[]

Tantor is featured in the jungle-themed parade float of the Festival of Fantasy parade in the park.

Disney Cruise Line[]

Aboard the Disney Wonder and Disney Dream cruise ships, Tantor makes an appearance during the "Trashin' the Camp" sequence of The Golden Mickeys.


The Disney Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Tantor.


  • Tantor does not appear in the stage musical adaptation.
  • Tantor could be described as belonging to the species known as African forest elephants, as he lives in the jungle. However, he looks similar to the African bush elephants (since he has more pointed ears and frontward-pointing tusks) native to the Savannah that are traditionally seen in many movies that feature elephants. Unlike the African bush elephant, The African forest elephant is not bigger than others. However since African bush elephants can be found in woodlands and dense forests, it is possible that Tantor is a bush elephant.
  • Tantor claims to be a bit of a homebody that doesn't travel much in The Legend of Tarzan episode "Tarzan and the All-Seeing Elephant", as he has never been to the savannah.
  • Tantor is one of the few characters to be absent in "Kingdom Hearts".


v - e - d
Tarzan logo
Films: Tarzan (soundtrack/video) • Tarzan & JaneTarzan II (video) • The Legend of Tarzan

Television: The Legend of TarzanHouse of Mouse
Video Games: Disney's TarzanTarzan: UntamedReturn to the JungleKingdom HeartsDisney's Extreme Skate Adventure

Disney Parks
Disney Animation BuildingTarzan's Treehouse

Entertainment: Disney Adventure Friends CavalcadeFantasmic!Festival of Family & FriendsHakuna Matata Time Dance PartyOne Man's Dream II: The Magic Lives On!Rivers of Light: We Are OneTarzan Rocks!Tarzan: The EncounterThe Forest of Enchantment: A Disney Musical AdventureThe Golden Mickeys
Shops: Professor Porter's Trading Post
Parades: Parade of the StarsFlights of Fantasy ParadeMickey's Soundsational Parade
Fireworks: Believe... There's Magic in the StarsCelebrate the MagicHappily Ever AfterMomentousRemember... Dreams Come TrueTree of Life AwakensIlluminate! A Nighttime CelebrationWondrous Journeys
Christmas: A Christmas Fantasy Parade

Original: TarzanTerkTantorKalaKerchakKerchak and Kala's BabyFlynt and MungoSaborTarzan's ParentsManuJane PorterArchimedes Q. PorterClayton and his menBaboonsThe Captain

Midquel: ZugorMama GundaKago and Uto
TV Series: Robert CanlerNigel TaylorTublatHistaZuthoGozan and HungoIan McTeagueThaddeus HuntJake & SamMabayaGobuFungiCount Nikolas RokoffLady WalthamQueen LaLeopard MenMuviroKajDr. DoyleEleanorGreenlyHazelIanLieutenant Colonel StaquaitRenard DumontJohannes NielsSamuel T. PhilanderTheodore RooseveltHugo and HooftNura and SheetaEdgar Rice BurroughsManganiJabariDaniaGerman PoacherBasuliNaohChief KeewaziFemale Tyrannosaurus RexVelociraptorsTriceratopsWaziri TribeStanley ObrowskiAbby Markham

Season One: "Race Against Time" • "Trading Post" • "Lost Cub" • "Lost City of Opar" • "Fugitives" • "Rogue Elephant" • "Poisoned River" • "Enemy Within" • "Fountain" • "Hidden World" • "Rift" • "Giant Beetles" • "Jungle Madness" • "Protege" • "Leopard Men Rebellion" • "Rough Rider" • "Seeds of Destruction" • "Silver Ape" • "Challenger" • "Outbreak" • "Silver Screen" • "Beast from Below" • "All-Seeing Elephant" • "New Wave" • "Lost Treasure" • "Return of La" • "One Punch Mulligan" • "Missing Link" • "Prison Break" • "Eagle's Feather" • "Face from the Past" • "Caged Fury" • "Gauntlet of Vengeance" • "Mysterious Visitor" • "Tublat's Revenge"

Season Two: "British Invasion" • "Volcanic Diamond Mine" • "Flying Ace"

Film: Two WorldsYou'll Be in My HeartSon of ManTrashin' the CampStrangers Like MeSinging to the Song of LifeWho Am I?

Musical: Who Better than MeNo Other WayI Need to KnowSure as Sun Turns to MoonWaiting for this MomentDifferentLike No Man I've Ever SeenFor the First TimeEverything that I Am

AfricaJunglePellucidarDark MountainSkull Cave
See Also
The Disney AfternoonDisney RenaissanceMusical/SoundtrackQueen La's Staff

v - e - d
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Disney InfinityDisney Infinity: 2.0 EditionDisney Infinity: 3.0 Edition
Playable Characters
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Non-Playable Characters
Disney Infinity: HammRexSlinky DogEmperor ZurgJoshamee GibbsPintel and RagettiMaccusEdna ModeRick DickerMirageLuigiRamoneFloChick HicksThe KingGuidoFinn McMissileCarla VelosoTractorsArtScott "Squishy" SquibblesTerri and Terry PerryDon CarltonEaster Bunny

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SparksCruella's carRatcatcherPumpkin CoachLightsaberDarkwing Duck's gas gunBlack PearlIdentity DiscPlasma Blaster Mark ICandy KartKing Candy's Royal RacerPizza Planet TruckRecognizerBathtubLight RunnerPixar BallThe Jolly Roger (Disney Parks version) • The Electric Mayhem BusBaseball Launcher

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Beauty and the Beast: GastonBeastBelleLumiereCogsworth
Big Hero 6: Hiro HamadaBaymaxHoney LemonWasabiGo Go TomagoFred
Bolt: Bolt
Cinderella: Fairy GodmotherCinderella
Frozen: ElsaOlafKristoffSvenAnna
Hercules: HadesHerculesMegaraZeusPhiloctetesPegasus
Lilo & Stitch: StitchPleakleyJumbaAngelLilo Pelekai
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Moana: MoanaMaui
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One Hundred and One Dalmatians: Cruella De Vil
Peter Pan: Peter PanCaptain Hook
Pocahontas: PocahontasMeeko
Raya and the Last Dragon: RayaSisuNamaari
Robin Hood: Robin HoodSheriff of NottinghamLittle John
Sleeping Beauty: MaleficentAuroraPrince Phillip
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Evil QueenSnow White
Tangled: RapunzelFlynn RiderMaximusMother GothelStabbington Brothers
The Black Cauldron: The Horned King
The Emperor's New Groove: YzmaKronkPachaKuzco
The Great Mouse Detective: Basil of Baker Street
The Hunchback of Notre Dame: EsmeraldaQuasimodoPhoebus
The Jungle Book: King LouieBalooBagheeraKaaShere Khan
The Lion King: ScarRafikiTimonPumbaaSimbaNala
The Little Mermaid: ArielUrsulaKing Triton
The Nightmare Before Christmas: Jack SkellingtonSallyOogie BoogieLock, Shock, and BarrelMayor of Halloween Town
The Princess and the Frog: Dr. FacilierTianaLouis
The Rescuers Down Under: Percival C. McLeach
The Sword in the Stone: MerlinMadam Mim
Treasure Planet: Captain AmeliaJim HawkinsJohn Silver
Wreck-It Ralph: Wreck-It RalphVanellope von SchweetzFix-It Felix Jr.Sergeant CalhounShank
Winnie the Pooh: Winnie the PoohTiggerEeyore
Zootopia: Judy HoppsNick WildeYax FinnickChief BogoClawhauserKoslovMr. BigBellwether

Disney animated shows
Amercian Dragon: Jake Long: Jake LongRose
Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: Chip and DaleGadget HackwrenchZipper

Darkwing Duck: Darkwing DuckMegavoltQuackerjackNegaduck
DuckTales: Scrooge McDuckDonald DuckHuey, Dewey, and LouieFenton CrackshellLaunchpad McQuackMagica De Spell
Gargoyles: GoliathDemona
Kim Possible: Kim PossibleDr. DrakkenShegoRon StoppableRufusDuff KilliganMonkey Fist
Phineas and Ferb: Agent PHeinz Doofenshmirtz
The Owl House: Eda ClawthorneLuz Noceda

A Bug's Life: FlikHopper

Brave: Merida
Coco: Miguel RiveraDante
Finding Nemo: GeraldMarlinNemoHankDory
Inside Out: AngerJoySadnessDisgustFear
Luca: Luca PaguroAlberto Scorfano
Monsters, Inc.: James P. SullivanBooMike WazowskiRandall Boggs
Onward: Ian LightfootCorey the ManticoreBarley Lightfoot
Ratatouille: Alfredo LinguiniRemyColette TatouChef Skinner
Soul: 22
The Incredibles: Mr. IncredibleElastigirlDash ParrViolet ParrJack-Jack ParrFrozoneSyndromeThe UnderminerVoyd
Toy Story: WoodyBuzz LightyearJessieRexEmperor ZurgBo PeepBilly, Goat, and GruffDuke CaboomDucky and BunnySlinky DogHamm
Turning Red: Mei Lee
Up: Carl FredricksenDugRussellKevin

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Hocus Pocus: Winifred SandersonSarah SandersonMary SandersonThackery BinxBilly Butcherson

Pirates of the Caribbean: Jack SparrowHector BarbossaTia DalmaDavy Jones
The Rocketeer: Cliff Secord
Tron: Kevin FlynnQuorraTron

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