Can Rabbits Swim? Important Facts to Consider

Rabbits have significant differences from other pets such as cats and dogs. These creatures are rodents and prefer to live in groups, unlike most pets. They also demand special care from their owners to thrive well.

Aspiring pet rabbit owners need to learn a lot about bunnies. For instance, like a rabbit pet parent, there is a need to know about rabbits and their unique tendencies and habits. For example, you need to learn about their feeding habits and how to take care of pet rabbits successfully.

Like most pet parents, rabbit pet owners usually wonder if they can bathe their cute bunnies. Rabbits are naturally clean, and they prefer to keep their coats clean, unless in rare incidents when their coats can get extremely dirty, especially when they are outdoors. That is why rabbit owners always ask themselves whether rabbits can swim or not.

If you have a bunny at your home, the idea of having your bunny swim in your pool may have crossed your mind at some point. However, swimming isn’t the most favorite activity for bunnies.

In this guide, we shall look at whether a rabbit can swim and why you shouldn’t allow your rabbit to swim.

Can Wild Rabbits Swim?

Wild rabbits can swim. The two common breeds of wild rabbits, namely marsh rabbits and swamp rabbits are excellent swimmers. Both breeds can survive in wet environments. They are adapted to live in wet conditions as opposed to domesticated rabbits.

They swim regularly in their everyday lives.  These two wild rabbit breeds seem to enjoy swimming a lot. Looking at these two breeds, then it is clear that rabbits can swim. It isn’t uncommon for these two wild rabbits to be seen playing in the water with each other.

Can Pet Rabbits Swim?

We have seen that most wild rabbits are excellent swimmers and that they can thrive in wet conditions. But what about their domesticated counterparts? Or rather rabbits that live in our homes as our pets. Can they swim excellently like their wild counterparts?

Yes, some pet rabbits can swim, however you should never try to force your bunny to get into water. Pet rabbits don’t have a tolerance to wetness, and hence they avoid getting wet at all costs.

Different types of domesticated rabbits have varied preferences for swimming. The Flemish giant rabbit, for instance, fears getting wet. However, the Belgian hare, a common species of domesticated rabbits, enjoys playing in the puddles.

Overly, domesticated rabbits don’t like swimming. They have plush coats which quickly absorb water, making them wet and nervous. Swimming is ultimately not an enjoyable experience for pet rabbits. Getting wet can make it impossible for pet rabbits to regulate their body temperature. Thus, swimming is a stressful activity for most domesticated pet rabbit breeds.

Should You Put Your Bunny in a Swimming Pool?

Putting your pet rabbit in a swimming pool can be a dangerous act. Submerging your rabbit into the water can be very stressful for your bunny. It can be traumatic for your pet rabbit. Worse still, putting your rabbit in a swimming pool can put your pet rabbit into shock.

Shock is known to trigger fatal gastrointestinal issues among pet rabbits. Furthermore, shock can place your rabbit at high risk of a heart attack. Many pet rabbits have died from the trauma of getting wet in a swimming pool.

Putting your rabbit in a swimming pool ultimately makes its fur wet. Unfortunately, domesticated rabbits don’t have a coat capable of withstanding wetness, as opposed to wild rabbits. Therefore, they have a high risk of developing a respiratory infection or hypothermia when their coat gets wet.

Can Bunnies Drown?

Swimming isn’t the best activity for bunnies. Rabbits species, whether domesticated or wild, are natural ground-dwellers. It is usual to find a bunny digging underground. But it is less unlikely to find a rabbit swimming in a pool or any water body.

Rabbits can swim for survival. However, rabbits can easily drown to death if they swim in pools, rivers, and other water bodies. Rabbits usually prefer to live on dry land, whether wild or domesticated. Thus never force your pet rabbit to take a swim. It can easily drown, leading to its untimely death.

Infant rabbits are most likely to die from drowning. They lack the agility to swim for survival like their adult counterparts. Moreover, rabbits can drown due to shock, mainly if it is their first time swimming in a pool. Rabbits are likely to hop in water other than swim. Hence, they can’t manage to get across larger water bodies by swimming.

Can Rabbits Die When They Get Wet?

Swimming is one of the leading causes that can make your rabbit wet. Rabbits shouldn’t get wet whatsoever. Getting wet can make rabbits die. Most rabbits die after getting wet, either because of hypothermia or shock. The best way to prevent your rabbit from dying due to getting wet is by keeping it dry.

If your rabbit gets wet either intentionally or accidentally, it is good to dry it properly to protect it from the risk of developing hypothermia, which can cost its life. To dry your wet bunny, rub a towel gently on its coat. Use other gentle drying materials such as paper towels and hand clothes if you don’t have a towel to dry your rabbit.

Blow-dry your rabbit to ensure it is scorched after getting wet. However, make sure the blow-dryer is on a quiet operation while drying your rabbit. The noise coming from the blow-dryer can scare your rabbit since rabbits are timid by nature. Furthermore, the blow-dryer should operate on a low heat setting while drying your wet bunny. Too much heat from the blow-dryer can burn your rabbit’s eyes, ears, nose, and sensitive coat.

 Wrap Up

Rabbits can swim. Wild rabbits are particularly excellent swimmers that can swim on a variety of water bodies. However, swimming isn’t the best activity for pet rabbits since they aren’t supposed to get wet in the first place due to possible health complications such as hypothermia and trauma.

Thus, please don’t allow your pet rabbit to swim lest you subject it to the risk of downing and developing health problems.

avatar Jane
Jane is an experienced animal care specialist with a focus on rodents and small mammals, with over 10 years of experience in the pet industry. Her articles provide practical guidance on choosing the right pet and managing common health issues. Jane is an advocate for animal welfare and supports organizations dedicated to protecting wildlife. read more...

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