Can elephants swim?

Yes elephants can swim, they are very strong swimmers much like many other mammals. Elephant’s sheer mass means they’re surprisingly buoyant and with their strong limbs they make confident swimmers even over long distances.

The video below shows incredible footage of elephants swimming through deep waters with no problem! See more information about how elephants use their trunk during swimming under the video. 

Elephants also take advantage of their unique trunk when swimming, using it as a snorkel to allow them to breathe normally even when swimming completely submerged. Some researchers have even speculated that the elephant may have evolved from sea mammals like the sea cow and the elephant's trunk would have once been used as an underwater snorkel.

Elephants also love to dive and swim under water often, again using their trunk to help them breath.

Baby elephants play in and around water from a young age, jumping and splashing into the water, even sometimes using older elephants as diving platforms!

swimming elephant head above the water

Don’t be fooled by the elephant’s size, they’re exceptionally strong animals with impressive endurance, sometimes walking 50+ miles in a single day. There is evidence of wild elephants in Africa swimming over 40 kilometers or swimming continuously for six hours! Some scientists even believe that the elephant population in modern day Sri Lanka are descended from elephants who swam to Sri Lanka from Southern India.