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Can rabbits swim?

can rabbits swim

You may want to take your pet rabbits out with you to the beach as dog guardians do.

After you read this post, you can decide whether it is a good idea to take your rabbits for a swim with you or not.

You will know everything about rabbits’ swimming behavior and why rabbits don’t enjoy swimming.

I discussed several aspects of rabbits swimming, such as:

  1. Can rabbits swim?;
  2. Do they like swimming?;
  3. Can you take rabbits for a swim?;
  4. Why do we see some wild rabbits swimming?;
  5. What would happen if your rabbit slips into a pool of water?;
  6. How to identify if your pet rabbit likes to swim?

Can rabbits swim?

Yes, rabbits can swim. Rabbits are lagomorph morphology. Due to their body structure, they can propel themselves in water. Rabbits can float in water and maneuver towards a direction.

But I can’t say for sure how well rabbits can swim in a large body of water or if they can survive swimming for an extended period.

I clarify this topic further in the next heading.

Do rabbits like swimming?

Rabbits are prey animals. A lot of their behavior is influenced by being at the bottom of the food chain.

Being prey animals, they have survival instincts. But survival instincts apply only to wild rabbits.

Rabbits in the wild don’t like swimming. But as they know how to swim or float in water, they will get into the water t save themselves if the time comes.

For example, if a predator is chasing a wild rabbit, a wild rabbit won’t hesitate to swim in the water to escape.

Nevertheless, rabbits don’t like to swim for recreation. Wild rabbits get into the water when they don’t have a choice. Domesticated rabbits have no reason to get into the water unless the guardian lets them swim. Allowing your pet rabbits in to pool of water is not advisable as rabbits naturally despise water.

During summer, rabbits may like a few splashes of water or use their front legs to play with water. However, submerging themselves in water is not what they want.

There are numerous reasons for rabbits to despise water. You will know as you continue reading.

Soaking pet rabbits in water is like torture for them.

Can you take rabbits for a swim?

I believe by now you already know the answer to this question.

Rabbits dislike large water bodies, so taking them for a swim is not a good idea.

If you intend to be a responsible rabbit guardian, you must not take your rabbits for a swim. Rabbits can quickly get sick from the low temperature of the water. Similarly, large water bodies can stress pet rabbits, and they can even die from the shock.

Reasoning rabbits have a thick layer of fur, and they can keep themselves warm during the winter season. Similarly, this thick fur coat takes a while to dry once it is soaked in water.

So if your rabbit gets soaked in any way, then you must dry the rabbit’s fur.

A rabbit’s thick fur allows them to keep warm in maintaining their body temperature. The thick coat takes a long time to dry naturally, meaning your rabbit will be unable to keep itself warm for a long time. As a result, your rabbit will cold and can even die from shock.

Another reason why not to take rabbits for a swim with you is:

A rabbit’s skin below the fur is delicate. Once soaked in water, the skin becomes soft and can easily tear.

As a rabbit guardian, you don’t want your rabbit to be in such a condition. An untreated ripped skin below the thick fur of your pet rabbit can cause infection. Infection can cause your rabbit to die if you don’t see a vet sooner.

There are multiple problems with taking a rabbit for a swim.

Rabbits only get into the water if they don’t have any other way to survive. Domestic rabbit they will prevent themselves from getting close to any water body much less to swim.

The thick fur of rabbits absorbs water quickly and causes difficulties for rabbits to swim.

So your rabbits will feel heavy and unable to swim if you leave your rabbits in water for an extended time.

I read somewhere that when a rabbit swims, for them, it’s like a human being swimming in wet clothes. I guess you can understand how uncomfortable a rabbit would feel to swim in water like that.

Regardless of how much you urge or feel that your pet rabbits might enjoy a swim during summer or hot weather, never take your rabbits for a swim or submerge them in water.

Rabbits are highly delicate pets. They are considered exotic pets. Hence, rabbits are always in danger from bacteria and viruses. There are numerous bacteria and viruses present in the water.

A bacteria that may not harm you but can easily hurt your rabbits while you take them for a swim or might as well cause your pet rabbits death.

One last reason is rabbits can only breathe through their nose. While swimming, your pet rabbits may have a hard time breathing through the nose, and your rabbit will be very stressed.

Pet rabbits may also swallow a lot of water while swimming, and that can get water into the lungs of these delicate pets.

If you were thinking about taking pets rabbits for a swim next weekend, I recommend not doing so. That could be the most ignorant thing you can do as a pet rabbit guardian.

Why do we see some wild rabbits swimming?

Like I mentioned in this article, rabbits in the wild may swim, but they do that if they are trying to run away from a predator and left with no option.

However, there are wild rabbits in the Southern part of North America that swim.

They are swamp rabbits. Swamp rabbits tend to live near wetlands. If you see a rabbit swimming or living close to the marsh, you probably look at a swamp rabbit.

Swamp rabbits may not swim for recreation, but you can see them swimming in the water for a different purpose.

What to do if your rabbit accidentally slips into a pool of water?

If you are near a body of water with your pet rabbits, you should pay attention to your rabbits so that they don’t fall into the water.

Likely, they will not get close to the water.

Or even if they get near the water and feel the water, they will likely retreat. Because typically, rabbits don’t like water, and if they are uncomfortable with what they touch, they will stay far from it.

Nevertheless, if your pet rabbit accidentally falls into the water, you must immediately bring it out.

Help your rabbit quickly get out of the water if it is not already out from the pool. Rabbits drenched in the water get stressed and might die of shock.

Once you rescue your rabbit from the water, you have to dry your pet rabbits using a blow dryer. A blow dryer will dry the thick rabbit fur and keep your pet rabbit warm.

If you don’t have access to a blow dryer, wrap your pet rabbit in a towel and try to keep it warm. 

Because rabbits feel cold due to the wet, thick fur, and it takes a long time for the hair to dry.

Another thing you can do is fill up a water bottle with warm water and keep that close to your pet rabbit. That way, the rabbit can keep itself warm.

Next, keep an eye on your pet rabbits for the next couple of days to see if your rabbit is sick or not.

For example, your pet rabbit may catch a cold or get infected by a virus in the water. Your rabbit may show signs of sickness in two to three days.

If you notice anything unusual in your pet rabbits, then you should visit a veterinary immediately.

How to identify if your pet rabbit likes to swim?

It’s rare to see a pet rabbit that likes to swim. Rabbits can swim or float but swimming for recreation is not their thing.

Would you like to go swimming during winter?

It’s cold, and the idea of swimming half-naked out in the cold is terrifying.

The same applies to rabbits.

So I would never recommend any rabbit guardian to take their rabbits for a swim.

The only thing you can do is introduce your pet rabbits to a bowl of water and see whether they like it or not.

That’s the most I would suggest for pet rabbits.

Fill up the bowl with an inch of water. Now take your rabbits close to the water bowl and see if they get into the water or not. Don’t push them to get into the water.

Just wait until they get into the water by themselves.

At most, the rabbits will feel the water and quickly get out of the bowl.

If your rabbit truly enjoys being in the water, it will stay and splash some water. If your rabbit plays in the water, it means your rabbit likes being in the water.

However, that doesn’t mean your rabbit is willing to swim in a large pool of water.

I recommend this technique to figure out whether our rabbit likes water or not.

If your rabbit enjoys being in the water, let them play in a bowl of water occasionally.

If you want your pet rabbits to cool down on a sunny day, then use this technique. Let your rabbits enjoy, and that way, you can be a better rabbit guardian.

Entirely submerging in water and swimming is what rabbits usually despise. Having half an inch of water will keep them comfortable.

And if your rabbit hates water, it will never get close to the bowl, and you must not try to get them near water again.