Can Rabbits Swim? Are They 'Hoppy' In Swimming Pools?

Oluniyi Akande
Oct 19, 2023 By Oluniyi Akande
Originally Published on Oct 29, 2021
Cute white rabbit having water from the tray.

Pets are amazing; they are those tiny (or not-so-tiny) creatures that make your home one beautiful living space.

Over time, humans have domesticated many different animal species, and rabbits are one of them. The majority of people have pet animals that are either a dog or a cat, because they love the energy those tiny animals bring to their homes.

Rabbits, however, are more delicate and should to be treated very carefully. Toys and other things that don't harm dogs or cats could very well be dangerous for rabbits, and make them scared, send them into shock, and even cause death in worst-case scenarios.

Rabbit owners are sure to keep their pets safe from such possibilities. Both wild bunnies and the rabbits people have at home can be exceptionally fragile.

They have tiny bones and a very fragile digestive system, so they may be in need of a veterinarian's attention more frequently. Their ability to deal with panic, shock, or any kind disease is different when compared to other animals.

It's also strongly advised that pet owners of young rabbits should be kept away from water, because they can easily get cold. Even regular baths pose a danger.

A rabbit's body is indeed something that should be kept away from any kind of danger. Almost all rabbits are well aware of how to swim because their bodies have a natural instinct to help them survive any water-bound predators.

However, despite the fact that rabbits are capable of swimming, they should not be around a swimming pool.

There are multiple breeds of rabbits that are domesticated, and it's only fair to say that every rabbit is different. Even though rabbits can swim, all rabbits may not like to swim or may not like the water at all.

Its up to the pet owner to understand what their bunny likes. No bunny should ever be left wet and cold, because this can risk their life.

If you are enjoying this article, why not also read about can rabbits eat apples and can rabbits eat asparagus here on Kidadl?

How long can rabbits swim?

It happens to be true that rabbits can swim. Some special species, such as swamp rabbits, are known to be avid swimmers, able to swim or paddle without any harm to their bodies or noses.

Yes, rabbits swim! However, young rabbits are very delicate and shouldn't be placed anywhere near water. Once their fur gets wet, their body temperature drops and this can cause them to stress out.

Water is indeed is not a rabbit's best friend. Introducing a rabbit to water within a week of birth will compromise their safety and put them in danger. It's also proven that a young rabbit's body or skin cannot tolerate water.

However, in certain situations, water baths may be necessary. For example, if a rabbit has been treated for fleas, baths are required as part of the treatment. Otherwise, the chemical ingredients could become lethal and really harm the pet rabbit.

Two to three weeks after birth, rabbits can be ready to swim. Almost every rabbit knows how to swim in the water because of its natural instincts.

It may not be a wise choice to introduce your pet rabbit to pool water, for their own safety. The presence of chlorine can hurt your rabbit, and swimming in chlorinated water for too long may increase their chances of getting water in their ears. That can cause great harm and greatly reduce their chances of survival.

Instead, allow your rabbit to play with water as a safe introduction. Make sure they are not completely submerged in the water, because that could be dangerous and put your pet under undue stress.

Rabbits, in general, like to stay dry and don't like cold environments. However, some rabbits have the ability to swim across water in fear of predators as a way to survive possible attacks.

Rabbits shouldn't be submerged in water and shouldn't be allowed to swim in pools. Unfortunately, a rabbit's lungs and ears cannot tolerate a chlorine presence in the water.

Depending on the bunny species, time spent swimming in water can vary. Most bunnies can't swim for more than five to six minutes.

After they're finished swimming, make sure to pat their fur dry. If they show any signs of illness, take your pet rabbit to vet. Though rabbits know how to swim, they naturally prefer to stay on land and keep dry.

Rabbits like the heat and do not do very well when they are cold and wet for an extended period. They should be kept dry as often as possible.

Which breeds of rabbits like water?

There is no straight answer to this questions, because almost all rabbits swim! However the Dwarf Hotot rabbit and the full-bodied Flemish rabbit seem to like swimming better than other species.

There are multiple animals that like to swim and can use swimming pools safely, like dogs. However, even though a pet bunny can swim, it's not ideal to allow your bunnies to swim in a pool for long.

If your rabbit is trying to escape as soon as they touch water, they are telling you that they don't like water or swimming in general.

Wild rabbits, in particular, can tolerate water better. Water does have a list of benefits that can be helpful for rabbits!

For example, aqua therapy can stimulate the healing process in a rabbit's broken joint. To care for rabbits properly, they should be towel dried right after the therapy session. Blow-drying is not the best choice for your rabbit.

You always want to make sure that you do not leave your rabbit to air-dry, as they can easily fall sick in the cold. Use a towel to dry them off and keep them out of the water and on dry land as often as you can.

If your bunny falls into a chlorine pool by mistake, it's important for your pet to then see a vet. Wild rabbits and domesticated rabbits are very different, even if they share some similarities.

It's important to understand the difference! Wild rabbits are capable of drying their own fur by themselves, which may not be the case with your pet bunny.

The only thing that's worse than a wet rabbit is a rabbit that isn't cared for in the best way possible. If your rabbit seems to like swimming, make sure to arrange a baby backyard pool for them that isn't too deep and is chlorine-free.

Also, keep them as dry as you can, because their skin and fur shouldn't be wet for a long time.

Should I take my rabbit swimming?

Every rabbit is different, so that can be a difficult question to answer. Some rabbits cannot handle any kind of water well, and can be negatively affected by even a simple bath.

Other rabbits can swim up for five to six minutes without any problems. It's very crucial to first understand your rabbit and then introduce them to such activities.

Rabbits, particularly wild rabbits, are natural swimmers; it's not common for them to be negatively affected by swimming. It could be surprising to find out that is not the case with your pet bunny.

Wild rabbits are stronger and can tolerate things that your domesticated pet bunny cannot. Because of that, it's not always fair to compare your pets with wild animals.

It's also not a good idea to take your pet bunny swimming often, because it can make them sick.

Pet rabbits have a domesticated and delicate disposition, so they are at higher risk of infection and even death when compared to wild rabbits. Taking your pet bunny for a swim once a month may be acceptable, but doing so once a week can prove to be a very bad idea.

Some pet owners even do not wash their bunnies for a week or two because of their sensitive nature towards the water.

How can I tell if my rabbit enjoys swimming?

If your bunny willingly stays in the water and doesn't try to escape, those can be good signs that they enjoy swimming. Even so, make sure to take your pet out of the water after five minutes. If they begin to shiver after that, they should be kept dry and out of the water.

Despite the fact that rabbits are shy, your pet bunny will definitely let you know if they like water. Continuing to swim, paddling, and staying in the water are good signs that they like swimming.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for can rabbits swim, then why not take a look at can rabbits eat potatoes, or Rabbit Facts?

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Written by Oluniyi Akande

Doctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

Oluniyi Akande picture

Oluniyi AkandeDoctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

With an accomplished background as a Veterinarian, SEO content writer, and public speaker, Oluniyi brings a wealth of skills and experience to his work. Holding a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan, he provides exceptional consulting services to pet owners, animal farms, and agricultural establishments. Oluniyi's impressive writing career spans over five years, during which he has produced over 5000 high-quality short- and long-form pieces of content. His versatility shines through as he tackles a diverse array of topics, including pets, real estate, sports, games, technology, landscaping, healthcare, cosmetics, personal loans, debt management, construction, and agriculture.

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