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29 Examples of Animals that can’t Swim (A to Z List +Pictures)

Examples of Animals that can't Swim

Examples of animals that can’t swim include batfish, giraffes, hippopotamus, camels, and birds.

Animals that can’t swim are rare species. The majority of animals have the ability to swim, but there are some who just don’t have what it takes. Before we get into this list of animals that can’t swim, let’s take a moment to explore why they might not be able to do so well in water.

In almost all cases, these animals live on land and come from environments where there is no need for them to learn how to swim. This also means they usually don’t have access to any bodies of water either.

Examples of Animals that can’t Swim

1. Basset Hounds

Basset Hound
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Basset Hounds are one of the breeds of dogs that can’t swim. This is because they have very heavy bones and a low center of gravity, which makes it difficult for them to keep their balance in the water.

2. Batfish

Scientific NameOgcocephalus darwini
Type of AnimalFish
Rangethe deep waters of the Galapagos Islands
DietOmnivore

Batfish are unusual fish that can’t swim. Instead, they just walk on the ocean floor. They have a flat body with eyes on top of their head, antennae, and small pectoral fins near their mouth so they look somewhat like bats (thus the name). Batfish live in the Pacific Ocean at extreme depths – between 600 and 2000 meters down.

3. Black Rhinoceros

Black Rhino
Scientific NameDiceros bicornis
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAfrica
DietHerbivore

The Black Rhinoceros is a subspecies of the white rhino. It can’t swim, but it has other defenses to keep itself safe from predators like lions and hyenas. Its thick leathery skin helps prevent bites, its size prevents smaller predators like jackals or cheetahs from taking them down, and its large horn is used as a weapon against larger predators like lions.

Read Also: Are Black Rhinoceros Without Fur?

4. Blobfish

Scientific NamePsychrolutes marcidus
Type of AnimalFish
Rangethe deep waters off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand
DietOmnivore

The Blobfish is a sad-looking, gelatinous blob of flesh that lives in the deep waters of Australia. It’s almost completely without any muscle or bones at all.

This makes it very difficult for the Blobfish to swim. When it’s in danger or needs to move from one spot to another, the Blobfish simply oozes along the ocean floor.

5. Boxers

Boxer
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

These dogs tend to stay out of the water, despite their name. The origin of this breed is a mystery: some think they originated in Germany, while others claim that these are descendants from Thailand. Either way, there aren’t many boxers who enjoy swimming.

6. Camels

Bactrian Camel
Scientific NameCamelus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeNorth Africa and the Middle East
DietHerbivore

Camels are famous for being able to survive in the desert. They can go weeks without water, and their ability to withstand high temperatures is legendary. But camels aren’t well-equipped to handle a dip in the pool or ocean.

Their bodies sink like rocks when they fall into deep water, making it impossible for them to get back up on land.

Related Article: Are Camels Faster than Horses?

7. Chimpanzees

Chimpanzee
Scientific NamePan troglodytes
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeThe central African Republic
DietOmnivore

Chimpanzees are some of the animals that can’t swim. They live in Africa, and their habitat is dense forest. Chimpanzees spend a lot of time in trees, but they also come to the ground to forage for food.

When chimpanzees travel from one part of their territory to another, they often cross rivers by wading through them. They are not good swimmers, and if they fall into deep water, they will drown.

Related Article: Do Chimpanzees Walk on Two Legs?

8. Chinchillas

 Chinchilla
Scientific NameChinchilla
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeBolivia, Peru, and Chile
DietOmnivore

Chinchillas are small, fluffy animals that can’t swim. They live in the Andes Mountains of South America, and their natural habitat is a very dry area. If they fell into the water, they would quickly drown. Chinchilla owners need to be very careful not to let their pets near any bodies of water.

9. Dachshunds

Dachshund
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeGermany
DietOmnivore

Dachshunds were bred as hunting dogs. They would go after large prey, such as boars and badgers. These animals tend to live in burrows underground, so they can’t be too good of swimmers. This is a problem for the dachshund because it isn’t built like other hunting hounds that have a long body and powerful legs.

10. Earthworms

Earthworm
Scientific NameLumbricina
Type of AnimalInvertebrate
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Earthworms are not good swimmers. In fact, they can barely move their little bodies through the water. If an earthworm falls into a body of water, it will quickly drown. This is because they lack the ability to float and breathe underwater.

11. English Bulldogs

English Bulldog
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeEngland
DietOmnivore

Bulldogs are unable to swim because of their build. They have a very broad chest and shoulders, which makes it difficult for them to keep their head above water. Their short legs also don’t help matters, as they are not able to move quickly through the water.

12. Giraffes

Giraffe
Scientific NameGiraffa
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAfrica
DietHerbivore

The giraffes are the tallest animals in the world, but they still can’t swim. If one of these guys falls into the water it’ll thrash around trying to get out before dying from lack of oxygen or drowning. Giraffes don’t like water, and they try to avoid it at all costs.

13. Gorillas

Silverback Gorilla
Scientific NameGorilla
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangeequatorial Africa
DietHerbivore

Gorillas are huge animals, and when they fall into the water their size makes them sink like a stone. They also have no natural instincts to swim; it’s not something that is necessary for survival.

When gorillas do get in swimming situations, such as crossing rivers (which happens more frequently than you’d think), females with young babies cling tightly to the infants, and their huge size usually keeps them from sinking.

14. Hippopotamus

Hippopotamus
Scientific NameHippopotamus amphibius
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAfrica
DietOmnivore

Hippopotamuses occupy the rivers, lakes, and ponds of Africa. They are one of the most dangerous animals in their natural habitat – with only a single predator that can actually kill them (humans). That is why they have evolved to be so large: their size makes it difficult for predators to get close enough.

Since hippos spend a great deal of time in the water, they are not very good swimmers. If they fall into a deep body of water, their sheer weight makes it difficult for them to get back out.

15. Orangutans

Orangutans
Scientific NamePongo
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeBorneo
DietOmnivore

The orangutan is one of the animals that can’t swim. This large, reddish-brown ape is found in the rain forests of Borneo and Sumatra. They are excellent climbers, but because they live in such dense forested areas, they have never needed to learn how to swim.

16. Owls

owl
Scientific NameStrigiformes
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore

Owls are one of the animals that can’t swim. They have feathers that are not waterproof, so they would quickly become waterlogged if they attempted to fly over a body of water. Furthermore, owls rely on their acute sense of hearing to hunt prey, and being in water would impair this ability.

17. Parrots

African Grey Parrot
Scientific NamePsittaciformes
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

You might think that parrots are able to swim. The truth is, they can’t – even though their instinct tells them that it’s possible for them to do so.

Parrot pets and wild birds alike will flail about in the water, only managing the occasional glide or quick movement across the surface of a pool or lake when threatened by predators.

18. Peacocks

Peacock
Scientific NamePavo cristatus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeIndia and Sri Lanka
DietOmnivore

Peacocks have beautiful feathers that they use to attract a mate. Unfortunately, the colors are so vivid and symmetrical that it makes them easy prey for predators like birds of prey or other carnivorous mammals.

They don’t swim well because their bodies are too heavy with muscle mass and plumage, which is why we hear about peacock drownings so often.

Related Article: 22 Birds that Look Like Peacocks

19. Porcupine

Porcupine
Scientific NameErethizon dorsatum
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeCanada
DietHerbivore

Porcupines are a type of rodent that lives in trees. If they fall out, even into shallow water, their quills get wet and heavy. It is hard for them to use these as weapons against predators because the size and weight of the porcupine make it sink like a rock when taken out of its tree home by an animal trying to eat it.

Related Article: What Eats Porcupines?

20. Portuguese Man O’ War

portuguese man o war
Scientific NamePhysalia physalis
Type of AnimalFish
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore

Wait, jellyfish can’t swim?

Most jellyfish can swim, but the Portuguese Man O’ War is an example of a marine organism that can’t swim. It floats around without any control of its direction, relying on its sail-like structure to stay upright in the water. The creature has tentacles with stinging cells attached which it uses to capture small fish and crustaceans for food.

21. Prairie Dogs

Prairie Dog
Scientific NameCynomys
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeTexas, Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana
DietOmnivore

Prairie dogs live in burrows that can be up to ten feet deep. They have poor eyesight and no ability to swim. If they are ever forced out of their safe underground home, they will drown quickly if unable to get back inside the entrance hole.

22. Pugs

Pug
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Pugs don’t have any special adaptations that allow them to swim. However, they are also not known for being particularly athletic or coordinated animals. They may be small enough to fit in a child’s swimming pool without drowning, but this is pretty much the extent of their water activities.

23. Red-Tailed Hawks

Scientific NameButeo jamaicensis
Type of AnimalBird
RangeCentral America, and in the West Indies
DietCarnivore

Red-tailed Hawks can’t swim. They are large birds of prey, and their ability to fly helps them avoid predators in the air as well as on land. But if they fell into a body of water like a lake or river, they would immediately begin flapping their wings while struggling to stay afloat.

24. Shih Tzus

 Shih Tzu
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeTibet
DietOmnivore

Shih Tzus are a dog breed that cant swim. They have that classic little white dog face, with those adorable round eyes and a black nose to match their eyebrows.

25. Slugs

Leopard Slug
Scientific NameGastropoda
Type of AnimalGastropod
RangeWorldwide
Dietherbivorous, carnivorous, omnivorous, and detritivorous

Slugs are essentially snails without a shell or any body parts at all. They look like a blob of slime with eyes and antennae, but otherwise, they have no discernible form.

26. Starfish

Starfish
Scientific NameAsteroidea
Type of AnimalEchinoderms
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore

Starfish is one of the animals that can’t swim. They don’t have any muscles, so they rely on their tube feet to attach themselves to rocks or coral and move around.

27. Toads

cane toad
Scientific NameAnura
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore

Toads are one of the most unique and interesting animals that can’t swim. They have smooth, slippery skin so they don’t sink out of sight as other amphibians might.

The problem is their bodies lack any sort of flotation mechanism to keep them afloat in water or allow them to pull themselves up onto land when necessary.

28. Tortoises

Desert Tortoise
Scientific NameTestudinidae
Type of AnimalReptile
Rangeon all continents except Australia and Antarctica
DietOmnivore

Turtles swim and live in the water while tortoises live on land. They have a hard shell that helps protect them from predators, but it makes it difficult for them to move around in the water. If they fall into a body of water, they will struggle to get out and may eventually drown.

29. White Rhinoceros

White Rhino
Scientific NameCeratotherium simum
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAfrica
DietHerbivore

Despite having a thick hide, large size, and powerful head butt ability, white rhinos can’t swim. They are very susceptible to drowning, especially juveniles.

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