Can rabbits swim?

Last Updated on December 11, 2023 by Admin

If you’ve seen viral videos of bunnies in water or perhaps you have a pool in your yard, you might be wondering, can rabbits swim? This article not only answers that, but it also looks into whether they like to swim and if it’s safe for them. On top of that, we touch on whether bunnies can swim submerged and also the different types of wild rabbits that use swimming as a survival mechanism.


Can rabbits swim?

Yes, rabbits can swim. It’s a rabbit survival mechanism in case they need to escape from predators in the wild. This can be when they need to cross a stream or creek to save their lives by evading imminent danger. However, just because your rabbit can swim doesn’t mean that they should. Even though pet rabbits can swim using both of their front and back webbed feet in the form of a paddle, this doesn’t make them natural swimmers.


Do Rabbits Like to Swim?

Although some rabbits may tolerate swimming, most don’t like the idea of being submerged in water. Considering that they’re prey animals, a rabbit in water may feel out of place making them entirely vulnerable. Not to mention when their coats get wet, they essentially absorb a lot of water. This, in turn, makes it heavier, thus tiring for your pet to swim. Furthermore, a wet coat makes a rabbit uncomfortable since it takes time for all the layers to dry off completely.


Is it safe for rabbits to swim?

Rabbits submerged in water quite often feel startled or overwhelmed. This in turn may lead them into shock or in extreme cases, paralyzing anxiety. The other reason why rabbits swimming isn’t a good idea, is that they are likely to develop hypothermia. Considering that rabbits have several layers of dense fur when they get wet, it takes their body time to completely dry off. This, as a result, makes it challenging for rabbits to regulate their body temperature. Lastly, the other reason why it’s dangerous for rabbits to swim is that water can get into their ears and lungs which can have severe effects.


Can rabbits swim underwater?

No, rabbits can’t swim underwater and shouldn’t be submerged on any given day, since it can turn deadly real fast. In the unfortunate event that a bunny finds itself dunked in water, it will instinctively swim to the surface and paddle to safety.


What to do when your rabbit accidentally falls into a pool of water

If your rabbit falls into a pool of water unintentionally, try to keep them warm and dry by wrapping them in warm blankets and then use a hair dryer set on medium heat. To be specific, if a rabbit falls into a swimming pool, it’s most likely that they’re exposed to the toxic chlorine. As a result, if your bunny has asthma or sinuses, a trip to the vet is always recommended.

On the other hand, if your bunny falls into a garden pond, there’s a high likelihood that it might be exposed to algae or bacteria. If your bunny has diarrhea or shows any signs of lethargy, take them to a vet who’ll administer a dose of antibiotics.


Wild rabbit breeds that often rely on swimming to survive

Two types of wild rabbit breeds live near water bodies like creeks, river edges, swamps, and marshes. As a result, they’re accustomed to swimming in water quite often. They include the marsh and swamp rabbits.


  • Marsh Rabbit

This particular wild rabbit lives in slightly salty tidal marshes and wooded floodplains. Marsh rabbits have a dark brownish coat and gray tails. Considering that this particular breed is well adapted to living in a wet environment, they have no option but to swim to evade prey or when looking for food.


  • Swamp rabbit

Swamp rabbits are another wild breed that inhabits wet areas such as creeks, river edges, and swampy lowlands. This particular wild bunny has a rusty brown and black dense coat. Just like marsh rabbits, when they need to escape from predators or imminent danger, they won’t hesitate for a second to jump into the water and paddle to safety.



Although rabbits can generally swim, they mainly have an aversion to water and will only swim when necessary. In other words, submerging your pet bunnies in water not only causes them stress but can also lead to hypothermia.

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