15 Animals that Look Like Elephants (List with Pictures)

Animals that Look Like Elephants

Examples of animals that look like elephants include aardvark, anteaters, tapir, dugongs, and mammoths.

Elephants are some of the most recognizable animals on Earth thanks in part to their large size and distinctive features. But did you know that there are other animals out there that look a lot like elephants?

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of these animals and learn more about them. We’ll also discuss how they’re related to elephants and what makes them look so similar. So if you’re curious about these elephant Imposters, read on.

Examples of Animals that Look Like Elephants

When you think of an elephant, what comes to mind? Graceful? Huge? trunk-like snout? These animals are known for their size and power, but did you know that they also come in a smaller variety? There are actually several animals that look like elephants, even though they may be much smaller.

1. Aardvark

Scientific NameOrycteropus afer
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangesub-Saharan Africa

Aardvark is a nocturnal animal that lives in Africa. It’s a member of the order Tubulidentata, which means it has a tubular-shaped mouth. The aardvark is the only member of this order, making it quite unique.

The aardvark is often described as looking like an anteater or a pig. It has a long snout, small eyes, and big ears. Its body is covered in coarse hair, which is usually reddish-brown in color.

The aardvark is a good swimmer and can hold its breath for up to six minutes. It’s also an excellent digger and can make its own burrows.

The aardvark is an herbivore and feeds primarily on ants and termites. It uses its long tongue to lap up these insects.

The aardvark is a fascinating animal that shares many similarities with elephants. Both animals are large, have trunks, and are proficient diggers. However, the aardvark is much smaller than an elephant and lacks the elephant’s distinctive tusks.

The aardvark is just one of many animals that looks like an elephant.

Related Article: Are Aardvarks Shy?

2. Baird’s Tapir

Scientific NameTapirus bairdii
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeMexico to Colombia

Baird’s tapirs are large, stocky animals that are found in the tropical forests of Central and South America. They have short, bristly hair that is dark brown or black in color. Their most distinctive feature is their long, prehensile snout, which they use to pluck leaves and fruits from trees. Baird’s tapirs can grow to be up to 8 feet long and weigh up to 700 pounds.

While Baird’s tapirs may look like elephants, they are actually more closely related to horses and rhinoceroses. They are the only members of their family, the Tapiridae, which includes extinct animals such as the woolly rhinoceros and the giant ground sloth.

3. Dugongs

Scientific NameDugong dugon
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangesouth of the equator

Dugongs are large marine mammals that look a lot like elephants. They have a similar body shape and build, with a large head, long trunk, and flippers instead of legs. Dugongs are actually related to manatees, and they’re the only other member of the order Sirenia.

Dugongs live in shallow, coastal waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. They feed on seagrasses and can stay underwater for up to six minutes at a time. Dugongs are considered an endangered species, with their population declining due to hunting and habitat loss.

4. Elephant Seals

Scientific NameMirounga
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangecentral North Pacific Ocean

Elephant seals are large marine mammals that can grow up to 20 feet long and weigh up to 4,000 pounds. They get their name from their big noses, which resemble the trunk of an elephant. Elephant seals spend most of their time in the water, but they come ashore to mate and give birth.

While they may look like elephants, these seals are actually more closely related to sea lions and walruses. Their diet consists mostly of fish, but they will also eat squid and other marine creatures.

Related Article: 10 Elephant Adaptations

5. Elephant Shrews

Scientific NameMacroscelididae
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangesouthern Africa in Namibia

As you can probably guess from its name, this small mammal resembles a miniature elephant. It has a long trunk-like nose, small eyes, and large ears. Its hind legs are much longer than its front legs, giving it a unique hopping gait.

Elephant shrews are found in Africa, where they live in forests and grasslands. They feed on insects, which they capture with their long noses. Elephant shrews are shy animals and are rarely seen by humans.

6. Giant Anteaters

Scientific NameMyrmecophaga tridactyla
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeCentral and South America

Giant anteaters are native to South and Central America. They’re the largest species of anteater, and they can grow to be up to 8 feet long. Giant anteaters have a long snout that they use to sniff out ants and termites, which they eat. They also have a long, sticky tongue that they use to catch their prey.

Giant anteaters are often mistaken for elephants because of their size and their long snouts. However, there are some key differences between the two animals. For one, giant anteaters don’t have trunks. They also don’t have tusks or ears that are as large as an elephant’s. Finally, giant anteaters are covered in fur, while elephants are mostly hairless.

Related Article: 25 Animals that Look Like Anteaters

7. Hyraxes

Scientific NameHyracoidea
Type of AnimalMammal
Range Africa

Hyraxes are small, herbivorous mammals that live in Africa and the Middle East. They’re closely related to elephants, and they look similar in some ways. For example, they both have trunks and large ears. However, hyraxes are much smaller than elephants, and they don’t have tusks.

Some people believe that the biblical creature known as the “behemoth” was actually a hyrax. This is because the Hebrew word for “behemoth” can be translated to mean “hippopotamus” or “elephant”.

While hyraxes may look like elephants, they’re actually more closely related to pigs, rabbits, and horses.

8. Malayan Tapir

Scientific NameTapirus indicus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeThe Malay Peninsula and Sumatra

The Malayan tapir is a large, dark-colored mammal that is native to Southeast Asia. It has a long snout and a prominent forehead, which gives it a striking resemblance to elephants. The Malayan tapir is the largest member of the tapir family, which includes other similar-looking animals such as the mountain tapir and Baird’s tapir.

While the Malayan tapir is not closely related to elephants, it is thought that the two animals share a common ancestor. This is because they both belong to the order Perissodactyla, which includes mammals with an odd number of toes on their feet (elephants have four, while tapirs have three).

9. Mammoth

Scientific NameMammuthus
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangethroughout the Bay Area and throughout North America

The mammoths were a species of elephant that went extinct around 4,500 years ago. However, they were very closely related to the elephants we know today. In fact, some scientists believe that the mammoths were actually a subspecies of the Asian elephant.

The mammoths were distinguished from other elephants by their large size and furry coat. They also had long, curved tusks that were up to 3 meters (9.8 feet) in length.

The woolly mammoths were the most famous of the mammal species, and they lived in cold climates like Siberia. Their thick fur coats helped them to survive in these harsh conditions.

10. Manatees

Scientific NameTrichechus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeUnited States

Manatees are large, gentle creatures that live in the waters of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. They can grow to be up to 13 feet long and weigh up to 3,000 pounds. Manatees have plump, round bodies and wide, flat tails. Their skin is gray or brown and their eyes are small and beady. Manatees are often mistaken for elephants because of their size and shape. However, manatees are actually more closely related to elephants’ cousin, the dugong.

11. Mountain Tapir

Scientific NameTapirus pinchaque
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeColombia, Ecuador, and northern Peru

The mountain tapir is a four-legged mammal that lives in the mountains of South America. It has a short, bristly coat and a long snout. Like elephants, it has a trunk-like nose and large ears. Its legs are shorter than its body, and it has a stubby tail.

Mountain tapirs are the largest land mammals in South America. They weigh up to 600 pounds and can grow to be six feet long.

Mountain tapirs are herbivores. They eat leaves, fruits, and twigs. They use their trunks to reach food that is out of reach.

Mountain tapirs are endangered animals. There are only about 2,500 mountain tapirs left in the world.

12. Probosci’s Monkeys

Scientific NameNasalis larvatus
Type of AnimalMammal

Proboscis monkeys are found in the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra. They get their name from their long, bulbous noses, which can grow up to 7 inches (18 cm) long in males! Proboscis monkeys are also notable for their reddish-brown fur, pot-bellies, and long tails. Like elephants, they are herbivores and spend most of their time eating leaves and fruit.

The largest population of proboscis monkeys is found in the Mangkalihat Peninsula in Borneo. Here, these monkeys live in small groups of around 10 individuals. Females are usually larger than males, weighing up to 35 pounds (16 kg). Males are much smaller, weighing in at around 22 pounds (10 kg).

Although they may look comical, probosci’s monkeys are actually quite shy and gentle creatures. They are also good swimmers, thanks to their partially webbed feet.

13. Saiga Antelopes

Scientific NameSaiga tatarica
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeKazakhstan, Mongolia, the Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan

These animals are native to Central Asia and have a long history of being hunted for their horns, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. However, saiga antelopes are now considered an endangered species due to habitat loss and overhunting.

While they may not be as big as elephants, saiga antelopes do have some similarities to their larger cousins. For one, they both have trunks (albeit shorter ones). They also both have large ears and tusks (in the case of male saiga antelopes).

14. South American Tapir

Scientific NameTapirus terrestris
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangetropical South America

The South American tapir is a mammal that looks strikingly similar to an elephant. In fact, the two animals are often confused with one another. Tapirs are slightly smaller than elephants, but they share many of the same features, including a long trunk, large ears, and a stocky body.

Tapirs are found in the jungles of South America, where they spend most of their time eating leaves and fruits. Like elephants, tapirs are herbivores. They’re also shy and reclusive animals that avoid contact with humans whenever possible.

15. Wild Boars

Scientific NameSus scrofa
Type of AnimalMammal

The last animal on our list is the wild boar. Wild boars are members of the pig family and they’re native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. They’re usually brown or black in color, with short hair and a bristly coat. Wild boars can grow to be quite large, weighing up to 700 pounds.

Like elephants, wild boars have tusks that they use for defensive purposes. They also have a similar build, with a large head and body, small eyes, and big ears. Their legs are short and stout, and they have hooves instead of feet.

While wild boars may look like elephants, they’re actually quite different. For one thing, they’re much smaller than elephants. They’re also not as intelligent, and they don’t live in social groups as elephants do.

Related Article: 10 Sloth Adaptations


Elephants are not the only animals that have long trunks. Baird’s tapirs and aardvarks also have long, prehensile snouts that they use to grasp leaves and pull them towards their mouths. These similarities make these animals interesting to compare and contrast. All of these animals are excellent diggers and live in humid environments where they can access plenty of food and water.

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