episode 8

killer elephants

Asia, XIX

published the 11th june 2016



The seventeenth-century Mughal emperor Jahangir was so fond of a nice elephant execution that he held several at a time, just for fun, lining up prisoners and getting his elephants to trample them.
Witnesses at the time recorded that it cheered him up no end.

Asian elephants

Trained elephants are now mainly used to harvest exotic woods. They can learn up to thirty different voice commands and reach parts of the forest that are inaccessible to motor vehicles. Yet Asian elephants are an endangered species: only around 50,000 individuals remain in the wild.

Killer animals

Many other species have been used to execute prisoners, including lions, tigers, leopards, panthers, bears, and bulls. Smaller species include snakes, dogs, cats, and even insects. Do you know how to kill someone with a dormouse ? Simple. Put it in an upturned metal bowl strapped to their stomach and light a fire on top. The desperate dormouse will burrow its way out the only way it can – through their guts.



  1. wikipedia (article on the execution by elephant)


  1. Martin Monestier, Peines de mort, Paris, Le cherche midi, 2004, 300p.