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9 Awesome Animals With Trunks (With Pictures)

animals with trunks

9 Awesome Animals With Trunks (With Pictures)

Elephants are the most common animal with trunks, but they are not the only ones. There is a wide range of animals with this feature, and although they may not be as large as an elephant, they serve a similar purpose.

This appendage starts either from the nose or mouth of the animal, and they come in different sizes and are usually hollow with additional flexibility. Animals use their trunks when eating or even drinking water.

For many of these animals, the trunk functions as a hand for catching different things. The following are 9 animals with trunks and how they use them.

  • Elephants
  • Tapirs
  • Saiga Antelopes
  • Giant Anteaters
  • Elephant shrews
  • Wild Boars
  • Elephant Seals
  • Aardvarks
  • Proboscis Monkeys

Animals With Trunks


an elephant walking on the gray grass

An elephant’s trunk is also known as a proboscis. It is a one-of-a-kind trunk due to its nature since it has over 100,000 muscles and tendons. This enables it to be very flexible and robust, so the elephant uses it as a hand. It can also stretch to four meters high, allowing the animal to reach food up in the trees.

The trunk is an extension that enables the animal to breathe, grab food for eating, suck water for drinking, and communicate. The trunk is so strong that it can uproot whole trees and cause a lot of damage.

It also fills up with water to clean the animal and others around them. They use this appendage as a nose for smelling around. It is very sensitive to smells which allows it to keep away from danger that is miles away.

Read Also: Animals With Patterns


a black tapir in the wild

While they may resemble the pig, tapirs are actually more related to rhinos and horses. They have short trunks, which are an extension of their nose and upper lip. This is why they use it for smelling, and it helps them in keeping away from danger.

While the trunk is relatively short, they use it for feeding by grabbing branches and fruits. They are primarily herbivores and feed on plants every morning and evening. Some tapir species have slightly longer trunks that are adapted to holding things other than while eating.

Like elephants, tapirs also like spending time in water and mud, and they are often found swimming or playing in wet soil.

Related Article: Animals That Have Webbed Feet

Saiga Antelopes

saiga antelope standing on green grass

This small antelope has an interesting-looking proboscis-like nose that rightfully places it on this list of animals with trunks. Its trunk is an extension of its nose that is usually pointing downward.

It is an adaptation that helps warm the cold winter air and filter out the dust during the warmer months. The male saiga makes loud roars thanks to the trunk, which helps attract a mate. The more powerful the roar, the larger the body size of the male, thus attracting a suitable mate.

The nose also helps in communication among the antelopes by warning each other of impending danger.

Giant Anteaters

giant anteater walking on a brown land

This animal has a long trunk with nostrils and a mouth at the end. It is one among four anteater species being the largest of the bunch. Their trunks serve no other purpose than allowing them to eat termites and ants, just like the name suggests.

The giant anteaters are animals that don’t have teeth since they don’t need them. Instead, they use their long and strong tongue to suck out their food from holes and mounds. These unique animals eat up to 30,000 ants per day.

They not only roam on the earth, but they also spend a good amount of time in the water. They are excellent swimmers using their long trunks as a snorkel.

Elephant Shrews

tiny elephant shrew with a long trunk

While they have the name shrew, recent evidence shows they are not in the shrew family. These small animals with trunks are more closely related to aardvarks and sea cows.

These tiny creatures have long trunk that extends their nose and is quite flexible, just like an elephant. The snout moves in all directions, so they use them to smell their predators for protection.

Their habitat is in the African mountains and forests, where they feed on small insects such as ants and moths. There are over 20 species of elephant shrews with different colors and habits.

However, unlike the big elephants,  elephant shrews have a relatively short lifespan of four years, and they mostly live in pairs for procreation.

Wild Boars

a wild boar sniffing mud


They have a short trunk which can be considered a pronounced nose. It is pretty potent by making the wild boar’s sense of smell quite good, which is helpful to them in the wild where they can smell predators.

While wild pigs are relatively small and seem harmless, they are quite strong and have been known to attack and even kill humans that get too close to them. They are vicious animals that can cause a lot of damage to people and pets and other domesticated animals.

However, humans hunt them for their meat, and there is even a unique spear for killing them known as the boar spear.

Elephant Seals

two elephant seals playing in the water

There are two types of elephant seals, the northern and southern. The southern elephant seals are the largest of all seals since they can weigh up to 8,000 pounds. However, they do not get their name from their size but rather from their trunks.

One interesting fact about these aquatic animals is that only males have a trunk. They inflate them to large sizes, enabling them to roar, scaring away other male seals. The trunk also allows them to produce sounds that help them communicate or warn other seals when in danger.

Elephant seals also come in handy when fighting since they use them to slap their opponents when they aren’t biting them.

Proboscis Monkeys

a brown monkey with big nose

The last members in our list of animals with trunks are proboscis monkeys. Their trunk is an extension of their nose which they use in various ways.

The male will inflate its snout to attract a mate. Competing with other males to ensure their nose is more significant than the opponents to get the best mate.

They also use their trunks to express anger, including when procreating. These monkeys also swell up their noses and make loud noises when they are in danger. This is to warn their predator and also the other monkeys against coming too close.

Proboscis monkeys are among the best swimmers that are not aquatic animals due to their nose, which serves as a snorkel.


Also known as antbears, they are sub-Saharan animals with long snouts extending their nose. Unlike other animals with longer noses, the aardvark’s nose doesn’t serve any other purpose than breathing and smelling.

One unique quality about their snouts is that they can block them willingly. They do this to avoid dust and insects from entering, especially when they are digging tunnels.

In addition, they are nocturnal animals, so they only come out at night to feed. They eat mostly small insects such as termites and ants, which they dig out using their long claws.


Those are the main animals with trunks in the wild. While they may all have this feature, an extension of their nose or upper lip, they are used for different reasons. For example, some are more flexible than others, while some are stronger and more useful in a fight. The trunk is an essential adaptation to many animals, some of which wouldn’t do any things without it.

Read Also – List Of Prey Animals

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