Can Rabbits Swim in Water, Sea? Health Issues & Care Tips

can rabbits swim in water

Rabbits are adorable and beautiful pets and have some special characteristics. Your rabbit can show love in ways other animals can’t and they can surely bring a smile to your face every single day. This is what makes rabbit owners so careful and so protective of our rabbits. We want them safe and healthy, and we are hesitant to try anything that we don’t have a definitive answer about.  We aren’t willing to take any chances. Lately, while strolling through some rabbit forums, I saw an interesting question that I wanted to speak about. Can rabbits swim in water? After looking into it, I covered some essential information that will ensure you don’t cause a traumatic experience or harm your rabbit. Let’s dive into some of that information.

So, Can Rabbits Swim?

can rabbits swim in water

The short answer to this question is ‘yes, rabbits can swim however most rabbits are uncomfortable in the water and will usually only swim if they feel that their life is under threat, not because they enjoy it. Putting your rabbit in water makes its delicate body under extreme stress and increases the risk of a heart attack or even shock. 

On a hot summer’s day, you may have been tempted to put your rabbit in the paddling pool. Maybe with the good intention of cooling him down. However, although rabbits will float in the water, they will paddle frantically and lose large amounts of energy. This is not really swimming. More surviving. No rabbit has ever got in the water just for fun, even on the hottest day.

Do Rabbits Like To Swim?

Rabbits don’t seem fearful of rain so the fear of getting your rabbit wet does not seem to be an issue. However, when it comes to a body of water, even just a couple of inches in a bathtub or pool can be sufficient to strike fear into your rabbit (let alone several feet of deepness in swimming pools). This is because of the fear of drowning. That said, every rabbit is an individual so there’s no telling for sure whether or not a particular rabbit will entertain being put in water, we’re just saying that in general rabbits seem deeply fearful of it.

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What happens to your bunny when he gets in the water?

Rabbits have a thick coat which is not greasy enough to keep out water. The coat, therefore, quickly soaks up water and becomes heavy. If you have ever fallen into the water in your clothes, you can imagine the counterweight your rabbit will have to struggle with. Long stays in water can, therefore, be downright dangerous for your rabbit.

Although a rabbit can swim, water is not it’s the natural environment. Rabbits will only usually enter the water in a life or death situation. Perhaps to escape a predator from air or land.

Can Rabbits Swim In Water?

You may want to take your rabbit swimming, the most likely place is in your swimming pool. There are a lot of video accounts of rabbits swimming in pools that are almost endless and you might think that looks like fun for rabbits.

But keep in mind that a rabbit may not be able to keep water out of her eyes, ears, mouth, or nose. Keeping your rabbit’s ears dry is absolutely necessary for her health. And swallowing pool water is not recommended for any living creature.

Not only can pool water easily get in the rabbit’s ears, nose, eyes,  and mouth, but the water is also full of risky chemicals that can be caustic to her delicate skin.

Can Rabbits Swim In The Sea?

Many rabbits can swim in the water, whether we’re talking about a lake, river or ocean, rabbits are capable of swimming there.

Yet even the clearest natural water bodies are full of foreign elements to a house rabbit’s area.

And in the sea, you are exposing rabbits to any number of creatures such as crabs, snakes, or fish, against which your pet rabbit is not equipped to defend herself, particularly while swimming.

As well consider what you can’t see in the water such as microscopic, water-borne parasites. Any number of these can easily get in the rabbit’s eyes, ears, nose, or mouth, to say nothing of being trapped in the fur and on the skin.

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Health Issues For Swimming Rabbits

Although rabbits can swim, they are not really equipped for spending a long time in the water. Aside from being fearful of swimming, there are many reasons to think twice before taking your rabbit to water.

  • Skin

Rabbit skin is sensitive so introducing your rabbit to a pool is reckless. Pools contain chlorine which may burn or irritate the rabbit’s skin. Dirty pools, on the other hand, contain a plethora of harmful microscopic bacteria and parasites that may make a rabbit at risk.

A rabbit’s tissue like the skin is also very delicate and may tear if it is irritated or sore from prolonged water or chemical exposure. This puts your rabbit at an increased risk of a parasite or bacterial infection.

  • Digestive System

While swimming. Ingesting water laden with chemicals or bacteria is very bad for a rabbit’s delicate digestive system and the flora that reside in the gut. Upsetting this balance can lead to digestive risks like gastrointestinal stasis.

  • Temperature Extremes

Rabbits can adapt to cold and hot climates given enough time however this doesn’t include the relative shock of falling into or being purposely submerged in deep water. Depending on its temperature there is a serious risk of a rabbit going into suffering a heart attack or ever immediate shock. If the rabbit is lucky enough not to drown but can’t dry off its thick fur and skin quickly a rabbit may also develop hypothermia.

Last Word

Rabbit could swim if it had to, but it probably wouldn’t choose to do so unless there was no other option. This behavior only occurs when they are in danger or feel threatened, and it is necessary to escape from a predator.

Don’t force your rabbit to swim or forcefully expose them to water because they do not need to swim, because rabbits are very sensitive creatures and such activities are too stressful for these creatures. Trying to force your rabbit to swim could be listed as a type of animal abuse and neglect.

When we agree to host a rabbit or any pets in our home, we should not do it for the simple fact that it will be fun for us. We must commit ourselves to provide them with food and cares and act responsibly, protecting them from any risk, and above all respecting them.

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