14 Animals That Can’t Swim

Certain species of animals are natural swimmers, while others cannot swim. While many animals aren’t equipped to swim at birth, they develop this skill as they age.

Animals have been proven to live in the world thanks to their various abilities and knowledge. Swimming is one of the abilities that allow animals to be able to survive in the water.

However, are there any species that can’t master the ability to swim? Which animals aren’t able to swim?

There are over 8 million species of animals around the globe, however, only a handful of species can not swim.

14 Animals That Aren’t Able To Swim

Most people aren’t aware that a lot of animals, including mammals, aren’t able to swim. If you’re interested in the animals you see, continue reading to learn more information about them.

Here is an exhaustive list of animals that can’t submerge themselves:

14. Porcupine

Porcupines are known for the sharp quills that cover their entire bodies.

The length of each quill is determined by its location on the porcupine’s body, with shorter quills near the head and longer quills covering the entire body.

Porcupines will only go into the water as an extreme last resort. Although they may not know how to swim, their hollow quills are just buoyant enough to keep them afloat.

Without their hollow quills, porcupines would drown in water.

Porcupines may not make the mammal swim team, but their talents lie in climbing.

Porcupines can scale trees with ease.

They like to hide in trees in order to stay out of the sight and reach of their predators, such as coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions.

13. Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees have a number of DNA sequences with humans and are among our closest known relatives, as are bonobos. Furthermore the fact that chimpanzees, just like us, do not naturally bear swimmers.

Despite the fact that the chimps aren’t able to swim, they love the occasional dip. So, splashing around in shallow water isn’t common for chimps, however, they typically avoid deep waters.

The most important reason why Chimps aren’t proficient at swimming is due to due to their large bones. Additionally, their muscular and lower body fats aren’t helping them.

So, when chimps step into the depths of water, they instantly begin sinking and are unable to keep their feet above the water. This often results in a tragic end.

12. Owls

Owls are among the most effective hunters of a night out in the wild, but they can’t swim, despite their great skills in hunting and survival.

It is possible that you have seen the owls hunt for their prey close to the water. However, it’s only at the level of the surface. Anything above which is beyond reach for owls.

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A large part of their incapacity to swim in the wings. They aren’t immune to water. In contact with water, feathers could cease to be flight-like. 

This is the reason owls stay away from a place that is close to water, and the reason they aren’t able to swim.

11. Toads

Confused by the inclusion of toads on those animals who can’t swim? Don’t be since toads are a distinct species from frogs.

Frogs are able to swim due to a variety of reasons. Frogs have a slim physique, long legs, and feet that enable them to swim underwater.

But that’s not the case with toads. Toads have a large body in comparison to frogs that act as a barrier for swimming. 

They also have beautiful feet and legs that don’t allow for forwarding or backward motions in swimming.

Toads cannot swim.

10. White Rhinoceros

Like that of black rhinoceros white rhinoceros are also unable to swim. 

They’re also rather big in dimensions, however, with a bigger body, they are characterized by shorter legs. 

Combining a massive body and short legs serves as a hurdle for swimming in the water.

9. Black Rhinoceros

A black rhinoceros has become well-known due to its many abilities. But swimming isn’t one of the many. 

They are endangered and are always in danger of being pounced upon by poachers. 

Despite their popularity and admiration, they are among the animals that don’t know how to swim in the water.

The rhinoceros are very large and heavy animals. Their massive size can be an obstacle to swimming. 

With such a massive body, it becomes difficult for a black rhinoceros to stay above the water and swim.

8. Bulldogs

You may be shocked to see bulldogs on this list since most breeds of dogs are known for their swimming. But the bulldog isn’t one of them.

Bulldogs exhibit brachycephalic characteristics which can be an obstacle to swimming. Bulldogs have snouts with short lengths, which are not suitable for swimming. 

Additionally, they have fluctuating weight distribution which is the reason they are unable to swim by themselves. 

With an appropriate life jacket, the bulldogs will remain afloat in the event of an emergency.

7. Batfish

Have you had you heard of batfish? They are aquatic animals from the Galapagos Islands, which is why you should be amazed to see batfish on the list. What is the reason that marine animals living underwater can’t swim? Crazy, right?

Batfish’s dorsal fins extend from their foreheads, which make them appear like unicorns. Batfish cannot swim, however, they are underwater and walk. They have developed pectoral, pelvic, and anal fins that permit them to walk in the ocean.

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This is what makes them intriguing since they are creatures that walk instead of swimming in the water.

6. Peacocks

When you think of peacocks, one thing that comes to mind is their gorgeous and vibrant feathers. They may be an appealing aspect however they’re useless in the water.

They also have separate toes that are not webbed feet. Ducks can swim using their webbed feet as well as their water-resistant feathers however peacocks aren’t able to perform the same. Their distinctive feathers and feet act as a barrier for swimming in water.

Peacocks can’t also swim underwater because they must lay eggs and guard the young of their parents. Snakes are notorious for preying on eggs laid by peacocks and young peachicks. That’s another explanation why peacocks stay away from water sources.

5. Gorillas

Gorillas are a different ape species that isn’t swimming. Like chimps and chimps gorillas do not come with swimming abilities, consequently, they stay away from water.

Like a non-swimmer Gorillas are also naturally sensitive and scared of water. In particular, some captive gorillas are known to use sticks as a way to gauge the depth of the water.

Fortunately, gorillas aren’t dependent on the water at all. They are able to absorb plenty of water through their diet, which means they don’t have the need to drink any water. (source)

The causes of their difficulty in swimming are similar to those of their close cousins such as the Chimps. Fat-free bodies, large muscles, and large bones All of which impact their swimming abilities negatively.

4. Hippos

Hippos are giants of the water that belong to sub-Saharan regions of Africa.

In daylight, hippos are often found in lakes and rivers. Hippos are actually spending approximately 16 hours per day in the water.

Due to their skin being sensitive due to their sensitive skin, they aren’t able to the sun for prolonged durations. Therefore hippos spend their day cooling down, and after sunset approaches at the end of the day, they choose their second preferred pursuit and that is eating grass.

Although hippos are semi-aquatic animals, they are among the few animals who aren’t able to swim. It’s possible to ask how it is possible that they are so often in water.

The reason is their massive bones and heavy physiques. Hippos are huge and a typical male hippo weighs around 4,500 pounds.

As a result, they’re not able to swim; instead, they walk along the bottom. And when they’re required to breathe the air, they jump over the surface to breathe in.

It’s also fascinating to note that hippos only have territorial interests when they are in the water. When they’re on the land, hippos mainly consume food, so they do not bother with other animals.

3. Tortoises

Although they have aquatic relatives, the tortoise isn’t able to swim. Contrary to turtles, tortoises have not evolved physically into aquatic animals.

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With bendy legs, as well as clawed feet, tortoise limbs, are suitable for landscapes, but not for waters.

Furthermore, their shells are larger and heavier than those turtles wear. It acts as a barrier against predators that live on land, but it makes it difficult for them to swim in a safe manner.

The shell’s weight can range between 5 and 30 pounds depending on the age and dimension of the tortoise. But the largest known tortoise (the Galapago tortoise) was approximately 880 pounds.

While tortoises aren’t able to swim, most can swim due to the air inside their bodies.

2. Giraffes

Male giraffes average 14 feet tall and they weigh as much as 1,500 pounds.

Giraffes are likely to be able of floating however their large and huge legs could prevent them from swimming or from keeping their heads above the waters.

Giraffes are herbivores and they drink their water primarily through their diet. They’re rarely seen often in the vicinity of lakes or rivers.

Because of the large size of their bodies, giraffes are incapable of swimming underwater.

1. Camels

Camels are among the animals that are unable to swim underwater, with the exception of the rare breed known as the Kharai breed from Kutch. This breed is quite adept at swimming and lives on saline plants to feed. Apart from the camels, no other animal can swim.

Camels thrive in environmental conditions that are deficient in drinking water. This is the reason they must drink large amounts of water in a short time and then put it into their bloodstreams to survive.

Also, with the exception of that Kharai breed, there is no other camel breed that is able to swim.

The final animal on the list who can’t swim is the elephant. Giraffes are among the biggest terrestrial animal in the world, so it’s no wonder that they have a difficult time swimming.

Final Words

In the final phase of this discussion, it becomes obvious that, in fact, many animals are unable to swim underwater for a variety of reasons.

The majority of animals have developed instincts that enable them to swim with confidence from an early age. 

However, there are some species that must develop their swimming abilities by practicing it from birth.

Animals who aren’t able to swim have a problem with their foot structure, structure, or size that prevents the ability to swim. 

Others are not able to adjust to swimming because of their specific surroundings. 

Even though they aren’t able to swim, they do have their own strategies for being able to survive in their environment.

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