Can Rabbits Swim? Everything You Need To Know!

Can Rabbits Swim

Can rabbits swim? 

Yes, rabbits have the ability to swim. But you should not let them swim as their fur coat soak up the water and becomes bulky, making swimming a stressful and exhausting experience for them. 

Moreover, a sudden submerge into the water could shock your rabbits due to intense cold water temperature, and the paralyzing anxiety could lead them to heart attack and even death in extreme cases.

While most rabbits have the ability to swim, they prefer to stay on dry land, so; you should avoid putting them into the water at any cost.

Let’s go deep into the topic and figure out why swimming isn’t ideal for rabbits and what you should do if your rabbit accidentally fell into the water.

Can Rabbits Swim?

Yes, rabbits can swim. Usually, a rabbit likely develops the ability to swim between the ages of 8 to 15 days.

When rabbits are in the water, they utilize their forelimbs and back limb like a paddle in the water. 

In the wild, rabbits usually swim to protect themselves from the predator, but it could be dangerous due to their soft and fluffy undercoat. 

While rabbits can enjoy swimming in water for a while, they might find it a stressful and worn-out experience. Their soft coat soaks up the water and becomes weighty, making it difficult for the rabbit to swim.

However, some wild breeds of eastern and southern United States, namely marsh rabbits and swamp rabbits, have developed strong swimming skills and adapted to live near water regions.

Thus, even if you have a domestic rabbit, they still have the ability to swim, and it’s a great exercise but shouldn’t exceed more than 20 to 30 minutes, depending on if your rabbit is liking it or not.

Note – A sudden submerge into the water can shock your rabbits, leading them to heart attack. Like the human, rabbits breathe through their nose, and underwater swimming could make it difficult.

Is It Safe for Rabbits to Swim?

Not really.

There is no denying that rabbits can swim, but usually, rabbits don’t like to submerge in the water. They might find it stressful and terrifying.

Is It Safe for Rabbits to Swim

Rabbits have delicately coated skin with soft fur, and once they get wet, they soak up the water like a sponge and become weighty, making swimming a stressful and exhausting experience for them.

Moreover, rabbits don’t get dry off quickly, which can lead to several problems. Wet skin quickly leads to infection, which further leads to baldness, redness, crusting, and other bacterial infection.

So, whenever possible, avoid forcing your rabbit to swim either in a bathtub or swimming pool. A sudden submerge in water can put them into shock, and inhaling water isn’t good for their ears and lungs. 

Do Rabbits Like To Swim?

Well, it depends!

Most domestic rabbits don’t like getting wet or swimming, and they do not tolerate being submerged in the water.

Getting wet or swimming for rabbits is like moving with wet clothing on them as their undercoat absorbs the water and heavy.

However, some wild breeds, like swamp rabbits, also known as marsh rabbits of southern United States, have strong swimming skills and have adapted to live near water. 

They often swim through the water to keep themselves protected from predators.

Usually, a bunny spends its life running, jumping, digging a hole, and doing other dry stuff.

Thus, avoid forcing them to swim and let your rabbit do what they should be doing, and if you try to protect them from rain or snow, it will keep them healthy and increase their lifespan.

Can Rabbit Swim In Swimming Pool?

No, it may seem interesting and funny to watch your rabbit swim in the swimming pool, but it’s highly dangerous. 

No matter whether you have seen the video on social media or what your friend says. You should never let your bunny swim in the swimming pool. 

When rabbit goes into the water, their fur gets wet and heavy, making swimming stressful and difficult for them. 

The swimming pool’s water level is highly deep for a rabbit to keep their head, ears, and mouth out of the water, which is necessary for them to swim. 

And once your rabbit gets out of the water, they could have nasty shock and fear effects for quite a bit of time.

Moreover, the water is filled with chlorine, and in no circumstances; you shouldn’t let your rabbit swim in chlorinated water. 

Rabbits have dedicated skin, and chlorinated water can seriously irritate their skin and lead to several other health problems like sinus and asthma.

Can Rabbits Swim Underwater?

There is no doubt that rabbits can swim in the water, but similar to humans, they must float above the water level to survive.

Going underwater could be riskier for rabbits; their coated fur absorbs the water and gets heavier, making swimming a difficult and stressful experience for rabbits.

Most rabbits don’t like water, and they are highly scared of it. A sudden trauma of being submerged in the water could be dangerous; it could lead to shock or even death.

Another thing is, rabbits can’t hold their breath for more than 15 minutes which means if your rabbit is going underwater, you should immediately take them out and pat them dry with a towel.

Thus, underwater swimming for rabbits is a big no-no, and you should strictly avoid doing anything experimental like this with your bunny as this falls under animal cruelty.

Aquatherapy For Rabbits

Rabbits suffering from arthritis or other joint inflammation might get benefit from aquatherapy or pool therapy. Aquatherapy aims to provide relaxation, fitness, or physical rehabilitation by performing exercises while floating or partially submerged in the water.

Bunnies that are going to water for aquatherapy should be supervised and constant attendance by a professional rabbit therapist to ensure their health and safety. 

Aquatherapy requires a very specialized water temperature. It shouldn’t be too hot or cool; the ideal temperature for aquatherapy is 10 degrees higher than the average temperature to make the body safe and calm.

Rabbit Falls Into Water, What Should I Do?

So far, we learned that swimming is not good for rabbits but what if your rabbit accidentally falls into the water?

If your rabbit falls into water, you should immediately take him out of the water, wrap him in a towel, pet him dry as soon as possible; avoid blow-drying as their skin is delicate, and check if he has swallowed excessive water. 

Rabbits have big and furry coats which absorb a shocking amount of water. A rabbit suddenly falls into the water could be terrified and may leave nasty after-effects. 

So, once you have rescued your pet from the water, keep them in a safe and dry environment and let your rabbit relax if possible; provide some food to calm him down and reduce trauma.

However, keep observing him for the next few hours; they may have water in their respiratory tract or ears, leading to sneezing, coughing, and other severe health issues. In this case, you should immediately contact a professional vet. 

Why Don’t Rabbits Like Being Wet?

There is no denying that rabbits hate getting wet, and there are some legitimate reasons for it.

Rabbits usually spend most of their lifespan jumping, running, exploring, and digging holes in the dry place. If they get wet, it’s tough for them to dry it off. 

Why Don't Rabbits Like Being Wet

Usually, the fur coat is responsible for providing them the warmth, and if their fur is wet, they will struggle to retain the body heat, which can lead to several health complications.

Moreover, fear could be a reason, too; rabbits may find themselves stressed and terrified when dunked into the water. The intense cold water and anxiety can shock their system.

Their fur coat is widely thick, absorbs water like a sponge, and doesn’t dry off easily. Wet fur could be stressful for rabbits; they tend to knot easily and be stressful and painful to groom.

The cold water and moisture can easily get into their ear, nose, and even deep into their bones, leading to severe health issues and even death in extreme cases.

Thus, you should avoid making your rabbit wet or encourage them to swim just for the sake of exercise or entertainment; you may just end up distress your pet and nothing else.

Final Thoughts

While most rabbits have the ability to swim, they find swimming an intensely stressful and exhausting activity. 

You should avoid putting your rabbit into the water, and a sudden emerge in water scare them; instead, take them for a walk, or jumping, digging, and exploring are the best exercise for rabbits.

However, some wild rabbits have adapted to live in the water surrounding them; most domestic rabbits should avoid water as much as possible. 

But if your rabbit has fallen into the water, you should immediately dry them off with a towel and avoid using a blow dryer.

Thus, for domestic rabbits, I highly recommend you to keep them on the ground rather than experimenting with them on water, it will keep your rabbit safe, and they will live longer.

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