Can Rats Swim? 'Rational Rodent Facts You Should Know!

Nidhi Sahai
Feb 21, 2023 By Nidhi Sahai
Originally Published on Oct 21, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Vikhaash Sundararaj
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rat isolated on white background

Yes, rats can swim and have the ability to be in water for up to three days without drowning!

They like to swim and are very good at it. They like to play with water and swim.

Rats are excellent swimmers, like being in the water. They even have the ability to survive longer than a camel without even drinking a drop of water.

These creatures carry a great amount of adaptability and are found to be excellent swimmers. Rats can swim in water continuously for three days straight and can hold their breath underwater for three minutes!

They are also good at fitting into very small spaces because their hinged ribs at the spine and collapse when squeezed. Rats are very good at keeping themselves clean and do not need to bathe constantly. When rats get older and cleaning themselves becomes more difficult, it is better to give them a bath more often with animal shampoo.

The rat's prominent ears and long scaly tail are key identification features while swimming. Its tail supports the body and controls to swim efficiently and perfectly.

Rats are found near saltwater lakes or oceans but their species are different. April 4th is celebrated as World Rat Day.

You can also read here about can rats see in the dark andare rats good pets.

Can rats survive in water?

Rats can swim in water for up to three days without drowning. Rats are excellent swimmers and are adaptable to swimming. A rat can hold its breath for up to three minutes while swimming in water.

Rats can even survive after getting flushed down toilets and somehow manage to get back into the same building. This primarily happens because rats can hold their breath for up to three minutes and can swim in sewer pipes.

These rodents seem to have a knack for the city systems and found spaces to swim for safe navigation. Rats ribs are hinged at the spine, enabling it to easily squeeze in the tightest spaces like the pipes, and draining toilet.

Rats are great swimmers by holding their breath underwater they find their way quickly from city streets to buildings and to the bathroom. Rats also need a water source in order to survive.

Most rats require a constant water source and they tend to stay around these sources like irrigation pipes, swimming pools, sewer, leaky faucets, water bowls for pets, and other sources of standing water.

Rats are very closely linked to humans. Human supplies the three basic needs of rat food, water and, shelter.

Rats or black rats are very destructive animals and spread disease very fast, contaminate food, and food preparation areas like restaurants, hotels, buildings, and might cause expensive structural damage. Rat also spread dangerous diseases.

How to find out if your rat likes to swim?

These little animals are fond of water and most of the rats like to be in the water for some time, but that can vary with different species.

Rats show signs whether they like to swim or not, just look at your pet's ears, if the pet's ears turn pink in color and relaxed, it means the rat is happy and wants to swim in the water. There are no other species that gives this advantage of looking at the year and understand.

Sometimes, pets do like swimming, sometimes they don't. Swimming comes intrinsically to rats, naturally, but not all domesticated pets enjoy swimming.

Can rats swim in a bathtub?

Rats enjoy swimming and if a pet rat enjoys swimming in a pan, sink, or bowl then the chances are that they will enjoy a bathtub swim.

These skills seem to be within the rodent. This species is actually found in the wild and humans like them as their pets because these animals can even adapt themselves in the wild to swim in sewers, lakes, and are able to swim in small ponds.

And hence, a rodent can swim pretty well in a bathtub also. However, pets are not accustomed to water or swimming.

One should not stress the pets and force them to swim. A pet must have an easy way out if he does not like to swim.

Pets swimming in a bathtub is safe as long as it is in a controlled way.

Pets know that they have instinctual skills that will keep them safe. One can look forward to making their pet swim in deeper waters when a pet becomes habitual to bathtub swimming.

Some species of rats spend a lot of time in the water as these are wild rats who eat anything seem to enjoy it.

But pets can have a difficult time and it may take some time to acclimatize to the water swimming, as some humans love water and some humans don't, the same is with pets maybe some pets are different and never want to swim!

Rat peeping out.

Do pet rats naturally know how to swim?

There is a report by Bennet G., an animal expert from McMaster University which says that black and brown rats are natural swimmers and learn to swim quite early.

Pet rats should never be forced to swim. These small creatures enjoy playing with water, allow them and give them some time and space to make sure that they actually want to swim.

The day a pet rat begins to swim, make sure that they have learned completely how to swim. Pet rats should be given the opportunity to swim, in a safe and supervised manner, in a shallow container they can adapt themselves in a day or two.

Some rats enjoy playing in the water, but they find forced swimming highly stressful. For rats, they can be in the water for straight three days and can hold their breath underwater for three minutes.

Wild rats find water and food using their amazing senses to smell. Rats are highly sensitive creatures and are also very sensitive to changes in temperature as they are nocturnal animals. The temperature should be within 65-80 ℉ (18.33-26.66 ℃).

How do you introduce a pet rat to water?

It can be a tough task to introduce your small pet to water. But you can start off with small amounts of water.

Take a small pan and put a little amount of water in it. Later place the rat in it and wait for them to realize the feeling of being in the water and actually understand this sensation.

Swimming is safe for the rat as long as they got introduced to it in a good environment.

Before going for deeper water, always make your rat comfortable in shallow water swimming efficiently.

You don't need to worry much as these pets have natural skills that help them to be in water even when they don't know about swimming. If you will force your rat into the water, it is sure that it will get scared, so you should never force the rat to swim.

Should you dry your pet rats off after they swim?

Rats are very small animals and have very thin fur on their skin and they love to stay clean, so drying a pet rat becomes essential to keep them away from sickness, chill.

One should also remember that water should not enter inside a rat's ears and the pet rat's head should never be submerged in water. Rats have a weak immune system and are prone to respiratory infections.

So dry off the pet rat quickly after a swim or an unexpected illness may occur resulting in a trip to the vet. The other precaution you should take is not to bathe or allow swimming your pet rat too often as the supply of natural oil on the pet's skin and fur may get depleted causing dryness.

Always remember to use animal shampoo to bathe your rat.

Wild rats can swim underwater perfectly and are even able to hold their breath for up to three minutes! Wild rats especially are excellent swimmers.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for can rats swim, then why not take a look at where do rats live or White-Tailed Rat Facts?

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Written by Nidhi Sahai

Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

Nidhi Sahai picture

Nidhi SahaiBachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

Dedicated and experienced, Nidhi is a professional content writer with a strong reputation for delivering high-quality work. She has contributed her expertise to esteemed organizations, including Network 18 Media and Investment Ltd. Driven by her insatiable curiosity and love for journalism and mass communication, Nidhi pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, graduating with distinction in 2021. During her college years, she discovered her passion for Video Journalism, showcasing her skills as a videographer for her institution. Nidhi's commitment to making a positive impact extends beyond her professional pursuits. Actively engaging in volunteer work, she has contributed to various events and initiatives throughout her academic career.

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Fact-checked by Vikhaash Sundararaj

Bachelor of Fine Arts specializing in International Business

Vikhaash Sundararaj picture

Vikhaash SundararajBachelor of Fine Arts specializing in International Business

With a background in International Business Management, having completed his degree at the University of Hull. Vikhaash has volunteered with 'Teach For India' to help students create a monthly newsletter. In his free time, he enjoys sports and was the assistant captain of his school's hockey team. He has also gained marketing experience through an internship at Decathlon Sports India.

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