Elephants swim simply by “doggy paddling” their massive legs to propel themselves through the water. Their legs are so powerful that they can swim continuously for as long as six hours at a time! They will often cross large bodies of water in groups to access food sources and shelter or use lakes and rivers as shortcuts to get from place to place. On an average swim, an elephant will keep its head and body just under the surface of the water as it paddles its massive limbs back and forth. However, it will keep its powerful trunk raised above the water and use it as a sort of snorkel so it is still able to breathe even when the rest of its body stays in the water for hours at a time.