Tantor usually appeared to be timid and even a downright coward who was easily spooked. However, he cared deeply for his friends and at times, he displayed considerable bravery despite normally appearing to be quite cowardly. For example, he boarded Clayton's ship to rescue Tarzan (complete with trumpet "Charge!" flair) and fought against a rogue elephant in the television series. He also seems to be somewhat of a germophobe and attempts to be an intillectual, though he tends to fail at the latter
Tarzan first encounters Tantor as he was a kid during a dare by Terk to take an elephant hair, during the dare a very young Tantor thinks Tarzan is a piranha and informs his mother about it and she doesn't believe him until Tarzan grabs hold of one of the elephants tails, which causes a stampede, after the aftermath it appears that Tarzan has died but he turns out to be alright and reveals he has managed to retrieve an elephant hair when he tells Tantor about he tells him that if he told him he would've gladly gave him one of his hairs.
Tantor continues to be Tarzan and Terk's friend well into young adulthood. Later in the film he, Terk and some of their gorilla friends sneak onto the human's campsite and trash the place.
Later when Tarzan invites Jane Porter, her father Archimedes, and Clayton to the gorilla site, Tantor and Terk provide a distraction to the gorillas's leader Kerchak so he won't find out about it, eventually he does find out about it and is enraged.
Later when Tarzan joins the humans and is put in a cell by a traitorous Clayton and his men, Tantor comes to the rescue and takes Terk with him being brave for the first time and fights off the men on the ship and they help fight Clayton's men so they would nkt make off with the gorillas. In the end Tantor celebrates the marriage of Tarzan and Jane along with Tarzan's gorilla family.
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.
Tarzan & Jane
In a compilation of three episodes of The Legend of Tarzan (Tarzan and the British Invasion, Tarzan and the Volcanic Diamond Mine and Tarzan and the Flying Ace), Terk and Tantor are assisting Tarzan and Jane in preparing their first wedding anniversary and preparing the treehouse for the party.
The Legend of Tarzan series
By the time of the series/Tarzan and Jane, 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 move 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, focuses on Tantor searching for a mysterious deity to elephants high in the mountains. Though he doesn't truly find the All-Seeing Elephant, the experience serves to strengthen his friendship with Terk.
The character Tantor was actually created specifically for the Disney movie. In the original books, "Tantor" is actually the Mangani (a fictional apelike species) language term for any elephant in the African jungle.
It appears that after becoming a young adult, Tantor left his herd and lives with the gorillas.
Tantor does not appear in the stage musical adaptation.
Originally, Tantor was supposed to already by a young adult by the time he met Tarzan and Terk until it was decided that he should be around the same age as them.
Originally, Woody Allen was going to voice Tantor, but was persuaded to voice Z in Antz instead.
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.