Animals Wildlife How Much Water Can an Elephant Hold in Its Trunk? By Jaymi Heimbuch Writer California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer specializing in wildlife conservation. She is the author of The Ethiopian Wolf: Hope at the Edge of Extinction. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Jaymi Heimbuch Updated May 10, 2019 An elephant sprays water with his trunk. Donovan van Staden/Shutterstock Share Twitter Pinterest Email Animals Wildlife Pets Animal Rights Endangered Species Fill 'er up! An average elephant can usually hold around a quarter of a gallon, however, studies have shown that bull elephants can hold as much as 2.5 gallons! So why do they need to hold water in their trunk at all? Contrary to popular myth, elephants don't drink through their trunks. They suck water up and then lift it to their mouths to drink. They also use the water to spray over themselves both to cool off and to shower. Not only is the trunk an essential part of drinking and bathing, but it is also used by elephants for an incredible range of tasks, from feeding to vocalizing to showing affection to exploring new objects. To an elephant, a trunk is as important as hands and arms are to a human.