If you’re considering introducing a little rabbit into your home (or you’ve already got a rabbit as a household pet), it’s very important to remember that these loveable animals have different needs to other common pets, such as dogs and cats, so it’s important to do your research.
From unique habits that are common to their species (including their dietary requirements and sleeping needs), as the owner of a fluffy rabbit, it’s imperative that you take the time to learn as much as you can about your adorable bunny, so that you can better understand how to properly care for it.
Even though rabbits are able to clean themselves naturally, does that mean they shouldn’t be allowed near water? Alongside other people who own rabbits, you mightcurrently be wondering whether or not it is safe for your rabbit to swim, as well as whether or not they even enjoy it.
This is where we come in to lend you a helping hand. To help settle this common question that many rabbit owner’s ask, in this article we’re going to be talking you through whether or not rabbits can swim, if it’s safe, and of course, how to care for your rabbit before, during and after exposure to water. So, Whenever you’re ready – let’s begin!
Can Rabbits Swim?
Before we go any further in this article, yes, it is possible for rabbits to swim, and this behavior is something that comes instinctively to them. However, for the majority of rabbits, exposure to water regularly is not ideal for rabbits, as water is not something that is natural to their habitat apart from two breeds of rabbit, which are swamp and marsh rabbits.
In the wild, these types of rabbits are generally considered to enjoy regular swimming in the ponds and swamps that surround them, and can even be seen cooling off in the water on hot summer days.
As for domesticated rabbits, the case is often a little different to rabbits that are already accustomed to swimming in water in the wild. In contrast, most breeds of domesticated rabbits do not tend to like swimming as they will have never lived in an environment which required them to have to regularly swim.
However, there will be some rabbits that do enjoy swimming, playing in paddling pools, and taking baths – it all comes down to the personal preference of the rabbit.
Needless to say, it’s also super important to take into account the fact that rabbits are not animals that have been specifically bred to swim in the water. Instead, rabbits have adapted to living on land, which is why they have a big, fluffy coat to help keep them warm.
For this reason alone, it should be noted that the majority of rabbits will not enjoy swimming, because their big, plush coats can get very heavy and weighed down when submerged in water, which can be scary and uncomfortable for rabbits to have to deal with willingly.
In addition to this, it’s also no secret that rabbits are known to struggle with their ability to regulate their own body temperature! Activities such as swimming can cause their body temperature to fluctuate, and this can lead to rabbits becoming very distressed and fearful.
Is It Safe For Rabbits To Swim?
As we have already said above, even though rabbits are able to swim instinctively, that doesn’t always mean that allowing your rabbit to swim is necessarily a good thing. Seeing as most rabbits have never been exposed to an environment that requires them to swim, it means that the majority of rabbits will find swimming to be a strange and scary experience.
This is especially true when considering the fact that rabbits have big, fluffy coats that can easily become very heavy when soaked in water, as well as the fact that rabbits are unable to regulate and maintain their body temperature as easily as other animals, which can mean that swimming can actually be a dangerous activity for them to partake in.
For this reason, we strongly recommend that you avoid letting your rabbit enter a deep body of water, as it may cause your rabbit to become afraid and panicked.
Instead, if it is absolutely necessary for your rabbit to get wet (such as for a bath) then we recommend only allowing your rabbit to be placed in a very shallow body of water, as this will reduce the chance of your rabbit becoming fearful and overwhelmed. On top of that, it will also ensure that your rabbit is better able to maintain its body temperature.
To continue, if you ever find that your rabbit accidentally falls into a large body of water (such as a full bathtub, a pool, or a pond) it is very important that you retrieve your rabbit immediately!
Being exposed to such a large amount of water will be extremely scary and stressful for your rabbit, and it’s important that your rabbit is placed on land immediately so that they do not accidentally become overwhelmed and inhale any water on accident.
What To Do If Your Rabbit Is Exposed To Water:
If you find that your rabbit enjoys swimming and actively looks for water to play in, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t allow your rabbit to splash around in their favorite puddle or pond – so long as you are supervising and making sure that your rabbit is safe.
You should also make sure that you aren’t allowing your rabbit to swim for too long, as this may cause its body temperature to drop.
Of course, it’s also important to remember that, regardless of how deep or shallow the water is, you should be extremely careful that your rabbit is not at risk of drowning. If you notice that your rabbit is struggling at any point or unable to stay above the water, then you should immediately retrieve your rabbit and place it on dry land.
After bathing, paddling, or swimming, you should then wrap your rabbit in a big, fluffy towel or blanket so that your rabbit will be able to regulate its temperature and stay warm and comfy while its coat dries.