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Can Rabbits Swim?

You have probably been surprised when you saw videos of bunnies swimming. Somehow this image is not something we are used to seeing.

But, there is evidence out there that bunnies can actually swim and that they are doing just fine. Or are they? We will look at the possible dangers of letting bunnies swim and how actually dangerous this is.

Rabbit’s anatomy

We have seen proof of bunnies swimming but let’s talk about their anatomy. Rabbits in general have shorter front legs and larger back legs. Their bones are extremely easy to brake because their cortices are thin. Hind limb is very strong so this allows bunnies to jump very far.

Their bodies have many deformations. Some of them are abnormal birth defect where the vertebra doesn’t develop fully, spine spondylosis, humps on their back and abnormal curvature of the spine to the front.

These conditions make it harder for bunnies to move around normally, so their only possible movement is humping.

Due to their inability to walk normally or run, they have developed a way to run away from predators. They use jumping to move and also escape the predators. Their ability to jump long distances and extremely fast is their only way to save their lives.

Because of their brittle bones and not so strong front legs, swimming is not something bunnies are used to. They of course can swim, but only to escape the predators and save themselves from dangers. In other cases swimming is not recommended for bunnies and nothing too productive or good for them can really happen.

Swimming bunnies

So, what about those videos of swimming bunnies? Bunnies are not made for swimming, and those videos are not a very good proof of anything. Not all animals like the same things. For example, some cats and dogs enjoy water and others hate getting baths.

We are not excluding the possibility that some bunnies enjoy water, but it is not something they have been comfortable with. This is because, water is not their natural habitat so if you are trying to force your bunny to swim, this might not be such a good idea. Forcing your pet to do something that is not natural for them is not okay, so avoid this at any cost.

If you lower your bunny into the water and you notice that he likes it, then you can let him swim around a little. When you notice that your pet is terrified and that he is struggling then remove him from the water as quickly as possible.

This would all be great if rabbits weren’t terrified of water. Doing simple things, like baths, are not possible. Rabbits have great fear of water and this is not something they should be forced to do.

Possible dangers of swimming

Rabbits have long ears that are usually drooping down and their sight is limited. This is why putting them in water might cause them to panic. They are not used to this surrounding and their instinct reaction will be fear.

Not many bunnies accept water at first since this is not something natural for them. Their eyes might get hurt by the water and also water might get into their ears and cause them troubles.

Other very big problem is breathing. Since they breath through their nasals, water could get inside their nasals and stop their breathing. This way your furry friend might drown, or he might lose consciousness. Water might also bring in infections and parasites that can be hurtful for your bunny since they also have very sensitive organs.

We have already mentioned that their front legs are not meant for swimming, and their movement is restricted. Rabbits move around by jumping, so when they realize this is not possible in water they will be afraid.

The biggest danger is of course deep water. Avoid putting your bunny inside deep pools and other deep water because their reaction can’t be predicted.

Excessive fear might even hurt your bunny psychologically, and he might develop fear from water in general. This will make it impossible for you to bathe him. He might fall into shock and you don’t want to make him suffer in any way.

Final Thoughts

So, in conclusion, swimming is not a great idea for your little rabbit. He has a lot of possibilities to get himself hurt and you certainly don’t want that. If your bunny seems to enjoy swimming, you should then consult with your veterinarian and ask him if that is okay. Bathing and cleaning your rabbit might be more fun activities for your pet.

Also, if your bunny has been in the water and you notice anything strange going on, make sure to take him to the vet or ask for advice. Sometimes he might seem okay, and the side-effects show up later.

Keep in mind that forcing animals to do something that is not natural for them is unnecessary. There will be no benefits for them or for you, so it is best to keep them away from any dangers. If your goal is to film a funny video about your rabbit swimming, then your intentions are not okay.

Your pet’s safety is something you need to worry about, since you have taken a responsibility to take care of him.

On the other hand, if you see that your bunny is enjoying  (which is almost impossible) and he loves water then check in with your vet and ask him if that is safe for him. Keep him away from deep water and always make sure he is not in danger.

Find out more about your bunnies. Can rabbits eat broccoli? Read that and more on our site.