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Can Hedgehogs Swim? Everything You Need to Know

Are you a hedgehog owner or considering becoming one? Are you wondering whether hedgehogs can swim? The short answer is yes, hedgehogs can swim. However, just because hedgehogs can swim doesn’t mean they should be left to swim without supervision or proper precautions.

In Can Hedgehogs Swim? Everything You Need to Know we’ll explore everything you need to know about hedgehogs and swimming, including why they swim, how to properly introduce them to water, and potential risks to watch out for.

Can Hedgehogs Swim?

Hedgehogs are not natural swimmers, but they are capable of swimming for short distances if they need to. Hedgehogs have small, weak legs, and their spines make it difficult for them to paddle efficiently. As a result, hedgehogs can tire easily in the water and may struggle to stay afloat for long periods of time.

While hedgehogs can swim if they need to, they are not adapted to aquatic environments, and prolonged exposure to water can be harmful to their health. Therefore, it’s important to monitor hedgehogs closely if they are in the water and to provide them with a way to exit the water if they get tired or stressed.

It’s also worth noting that while some pet hedgehogs may enjoy playing in shallow water, not all hedgehogs are comfortable with water. If you have a pet hedgehog, it’s important to respect its individual preferences and avoid forcing it to do anything it is uncomfortable with.

Why Do Hedgehogs Swim?

Hedgehogs are not natural swimmers, and they typically avoid water. However, in some situations, hedgehogs may swim as a means of survival or to find food. In the wild, hedgehogs may encounter water when they are foraging for food or seeking shelter.

If they come across a body of water, they may choose to swim across it rather than try to go around it, especially if they are in a hurry. Hedgehogs are also known to swim to escape danger, such as predators or flooding. Although they are not strong swimmers, they can paddle their legs to stay afloat for short periods of time.

It’s worth noting that hedgehogs should not be encouraged to swim in captivity, as they may become stressed or frightened in unfamiliar surroundings. Additionally, hedgehogs can be at risk of drowning if they are unable to get out of the water due to steep or slippery sides.

How to Introduce Hedgehogs to Water

Due to their inability to swim naturally, hedgehogs should only be introduced to water under careful observation. To introduce your hedgehog to water, take the following actions:

Start Slowly: To begin, place a small amount of water in a shallow dish and introduce your hedgehog to it. The dish should be put within your hedgehog’s enclosure. Allow it to explore it at its own speed.

Make it Cozy: Make sure your hedgehog can stand in warm water that isn’t too deep. To make your hedgehog more comfortable, add some safe rocks or floatable toys for it to grip onto.

Always keep an eye on your hedgehog when it’s submerged in water. Hedgehogs can grow fatigued quickly, and if they do, they might need assistance getting out of the water.

Don’t Push It: If your hedgehog appears anxious or uneasy, don’t push it to remain submerged. Give your hedgehog time to acclimate to the new environment and respect its boundaries.

Maintain It: Remove any dirt or bacteria from the water dish on a regular basis to avoid harming your hedgehog.

Keep in mind that not all hedgehogs enjoy the water, and others might never feel at ease there. Always respect your hedgehog’s tastes and don’t make it do anything it doesn’t like to do.

Risks and Precautions

Hedgehogs should not be introduced to water without taking the following precautions and risks into account:

Drowning: Since they are not good swimmers, hedgehogs can quickly become exhausted in the water. When your hedgehog is in water, always keep an eye on it and make sure it has a method to exit if it becomes tired.

Water can be frightening or distressing to some hedgehogs. Slowly introduce your hedgehog to water, and keep an eye out for any symptoms of stress, like balling up or excessive quilling.

Hedgehogs are sensitive to fluctuations in temperature, so make sure the water is warm but not scorching. Before letting your hedgehog into the water, check the temperature with a thermometer.

Chemicals: When introducing your hedgehog to water, stay away from using chemicals like soap or shampoo. The skin and overall health of your hedgehog may be harmed by these chemicals.

Water quality: Always check to make sure the water is pure and free of impurities like germs. To avoid the bacterial or dirt buildup, change the water frequently.

Hedgehogs may struggle to maintain their grip on slick terrain. To stop your hedgehog from falling in the water, use a shallow dish with textured or non-slip edges.

Health Issues: Before introducing your hedgehog to water, check with a veterinarian if it suffers from any health issues, such as respiratory or skin issues.

Overall, it’s important to proceed with caution when introducing hedgehogs to water and to always prioritize their safety and well-being.


Overall, while hedgehogs are capable of swimming, it’s not necessary or recommended to encourage them to swim for extended periods of time. Providing your hedgehog with plenty of enrichment activities and a comfortable, safe living environment is much more important for its overall health and well-being. Hope the article Can Hedgehogs Swim? Everything You Need to Know will provide useful information for you.

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