Can Hedgehogs Swim? ALL You Need To Know (2023)

Can Hedgehogs Swim

This Article Was Written By Israel Olaniran Reviewed By Dr Jenna Fred.

Last Updated on June 29, 2023 by israel olaniran

Hedgehogs are fascinating creatures known for their unique appearance and behaviors. As a pet owner or someone curious about these small mammals, you might wonder if hedgehogs possess the ability to swim. In this article, we’ll explore the swimming capabilities of hedgehogs and shed light on their natural habitat, physical characteristics, and how they interact with water.

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Can Hedgehogs Swim?

Yes, hedgehogs can swim to some extent, but it’s important to note that swimming is not a natural behavior for them. While their quills provide buoyancy and they can paddle their legs to move through water, they are not built for extended periods in water. It’s crucial to prioritize their safety and avoid situations where they could become overwhelmed or exhausted in water.

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Physical Characteristics of Hedgehogs

To understand whether hedgehogs can swim, it’s important to consider their physical attributes. Hedgehogs have a compact and sturdy body structure, covered in quills and spines. These spines serve as a defense mechanism against predators, but they also play a role in buoyancy when in water.

Can Hedgehogs Swim
Can Hedgehogs Swim? Image by Alexa from Pixabay

Hedgehogs’ Natural Habitat

Hedgehogs are primarily terrestrial creatures and are found in various habitats worldwide. They prefer areas with dense vegetation, such as forests, grasslands, and gardens. Their natural habitats are typically away from large bodies of water, as they are not natural swimmers.

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Hedgehogs and Water

While hedgehogs are not adapted for swimming like ducks or otters, they do have some ability to navigate through water. However, it’s important to note that not all hedgehogs enjoy or are comfortable in water. Some hedgehogs may panic or become stressed when exposed to water, so it’s crucial to understand their individual preferences and reactions.


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Swimming Abilities

Hedgehogs have a moderate ability to swim short distances when necessary. Their dense quills provide some buoyancy, allowing them to float on the surface of the water. However, their swimming technique typically involves paddling their legs rather than using elegant strokes like aquatic animals.

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Floating and Paddling

When a hedgehog finds itself in water, it can inflate its lungs to increase buoyancy, allowing it to float for a short period. However, it’s important to remember that hedgehogs are not built for extended periods in water, and swimming should not be encouraged as a regular activity for them.

Water Safety

While hedgehogs can swim to some extent, it’s crucial to prioritize their safety. If you have a pet hedgehog, it’s important to prevent accidental drowning by ensuring they are not exposed to bodies of water unsupervised. Hedgehogs can easily become exhausted or overwhelmed in water, so it’s best to avoid situations where they could potentially enter deep water.

Hedgehogs as Pets

Hedgehogs have gained popularity as pets due to their unique appearance and low-maintenance nature. However, it’s essential to provide appropriate care and understand their specific needs, including their relationship with water.

Common Misconceptions

There is a common misconception that hedgehogs enjoy water-based activities or can be bathed regularly. While some hedgehogs may tolerate or even enjoy shallow water baths, it is not a natural behavior for them. It’s important not to force them into water-based activities if they show signs of discomfort or stress.

Encouraging Natural Behaviors

Instead of promoting swimming activities, it’s beneficial to provide hedgehogs with environmental enrichment that mimics their natural habitat. This can include providing hiding spots, tunnels, and areas with moist soil for them to explore and forage, as they would in the wild.

Safety Precautions

When engaging with water-related activities, such as bathing or cleaning their enclosure, it’s essential to prioritize safety. Ensure the water is shallow and at a comfortable temperature. Never leave a hedgehog unattended in water, and be observant of their reactions and stress levels.

Can Hedgehogs Swim?

Final Thoughts On Can Hedgehogs Swim?

In conclusion, while hedgehogs possess some swimming abilities, they are not natural swimmers. Their compact body structure and quills provide some buoyancy, but swimming should not be encouraged as a regular activity. It’s important to respect their individual preferences and prioritize their safety when it comes to water-based interactions.


Can hedgehogs drown if left unsupervised in water?

Yes, hedgehogs can potentially drown if exposed to deep water without supervision. It’s crucial to prevent such situations to ensure their safety.

Are there any hedgehog breeds or species that are better swimmers than others?

Generally, hedgehog species have similar swimming abilities. Individual hedgehogs may differ in their comfort level with water, but no specific breeds excel in swimming.

Can hedgehogs be trained to swim?

Hedgehogs cannot be trained to swim like dogs or other animals. It’s best to prioritize their natural behaviors and provide them with a safe and comfortable environment.

Are there any water-based activities suitable for hedgehogs?

While swimming is not recommended, some hedgehogs may enjoy shallow water baths. However, it’s crucial to monitor their reactions and ensure they are stress-free during such activities.

Do hedgehogs need any special care related to water in their enclosure?

Hedgehogs require a dry and clean living environment. Avoid excessive humidity or moisture in their enclosure to prevent health issues.

Can hedgehogs swim in water?

Yes, hedgehogs can swim to some extent, but they are not natural swimmers and may not be as proficient as aquatic animals.

Can hedgehogs go underwater?

Hedgehogs can go underwater for brief periods if necessary, but it is not a typical behavior for them. They are not adapted for prolonged submersion.

How good are hedgehogs at swimming?

Hedgehogs have a moderate ability to swim short distances when needed. Their quills provide some buoyancy, but they primarily rely on paddling their legs rather than using elegant swimming strokes.

Why can Sonic swim?

In the fictional world of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic’s ability to swim is part of his superpowers. As a video game character, Sonic possesses exceptional abilities that go beyond the capabilities of real hedgehogs.

Do hedgehogs like water?

Not all hedgehogs like water. Some may feel stressed or panicked when exposed to water. It’s essential to respect their individual preferences and reactions to water-based activities.

Can hedgehogs climb trees?

Hedgehogs are not natural climbers, and they do not possess the physical adaptations required for tree climbing. They are primarily terrestrial creatures.

Can hedgehogs float?

Hedgehogs can float on the surface of the water to some extent due to the buoyancy provided by their quills. However, they are not naturally buoyant like some aquatic animals.

Can hedgehogs breathe underwater?

No, hedgehogs cannot breathe underwater. Like other mammals, they require air to breathe and cannot extract oxygen from water.

Can hedgehogs climb?

Hedgehogs are not skilled climbers. They are adapted for a terrestrial lifestyle and are more comfortable navigating on the ground rather than climbing vertical surfaces.

Can hedgehogs run?

Hedgehogs can move relatively quickly on land, but their running speed is not exceptionally fast compared to other animals. They are known for their ability to roll into a ball as a defensive mechanism.

Can hedgehogs be pets?

Yes, hedgehogs can be kept as pets. They have gained popularity as pets due to their unique appearance and low-maintenance nature. However, it’s important to provide them with appropriate care and meet their specific needs.

Can African pygmy hedgehogs swim?

African pygmy hedgehogs, which are a common pet species, have similar swimming abilities to other hedgehog species. They can swim to some extent, but care should be taken to ensure their safety and comfort in water.


  • israel olaniran

    Israel Olaniran is an accomplished animal content writer with five years of expertise in creating engaging and educational material about cats, dogs, and other animals. When he's not writing, he dedicates his time to caring for his beloved four-year-old rescue puppy. Israel's work has been featured in renowned publications like "Pethouse," and he actively collaborates with local animal shelters and rescue organizations to raise awareness about their important work. His vast knowledge in animal care and ownership, as well as his up-to-date understanding of various breeds, making him a trusted source for global readers seeking reliable pet content.

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