Do Foxes Swim: Ultimate Guide

The fox is known for its nimble nature. It can jump, climb, sneak around and run at an incredibly fast pace. But can a fox swim? Is a fox good at swimming? These are all questions that you may be asking yourself.

Thankfully, we have all of the answers that you may need in this article. In short though, a fox is capable of swimming quite well, and will swim if it needs to. With that being said, they tend to try to stay away from water as they are not fans of getting wet. 

Situations When A Fox Might Swim

If a fox doesn’t like to swim, then what would compel it to do so? There are a number of reasons why a fox may take the plunge into the deep blue.

They don’t generally do it for fun unless they are overheated or they are trying to play with members of their family. Foxes will usually swim for practical reasons instead.


The first reason why a fox may swim is to looking for food. If they think that there’s food nearby, they may make their way into the water. They may look for animals such as ducks or fish in the water.

A fox will do practically anything for food, though they will not try to endanger themselves. If there is food on land then a fox probably won’t try to hunt for food in the water. 


If a fox’s territory is on land that exists beyond a body of water, then they will swim to get across it. They will usually try to avoid it if possible though. Sometimes it is necessary if their territory lies beyond a river or a lake. 

To Protect Itself

Every creature needs to preserve itself, and that goes for the fox too. If a fox is being chased by a predator then they may try to swim as a way to protect themselves if they feel that there is simply no other choice.

They will usually weigh up the risks to their safety before they do this.

It’s worth noting that foxes will only swim in certain climates, however. For instance, they probably won’t swim in exceptionally cold weather unless they felt that it was necessary for their survival.

Swimming Styles

So, you may be wondering how exactly a fox swims. We’re glad you asked! Foxes look a lot like dogs when they are swimming, doing what we know as the ‘doggy paddle.’ It can take them a while to swim like this – they only swim at roughly 2 to 3 miles per hour.

They ensure that their noses are in the air and they keep their tails straight. It’s not likely that you will find a fox swimming in a lake when you go for a picnic though. They aren’t fans of water! 

Can A Fox Swim Underwater?

A fox has never been caught swimming underwater on camera. Usually, a fox will try to swim with its head above the water, similar to a dog. This will help them to breathe much more easily. They aren’t designed for swimming, so they try to avoid swimming under the water.

Will Every Kind of Fox Attempt to Swim?

Every single fox candidate is capable of swimming. Yes, we even mean breeds like the red fox and the gray fox. You are far less likely to see an arctic fox swimming, but they can do it if necessary.

Why the arctic fox? Well, this is because their fur can be severely damaged by going into the frozen waters when it is particularly cold.

They can cope well with the cold weather, but this can only go so far. The ice cold water can cause them some serious damage, which isn’t good for their health. As such, an arctic fox is even less likely to brave the waters if they can avoid doing so.


In summary, a fox can indeed swim. In fact, they are very good swimmers, much like dogs. They will generally try to avoid the water if possible since they don’t enjoy getting wet. They may even try to stay away from puddles if they are capable of doing so.

Foxes will usually be okay with swimming if they have to, such as when they are hunting or when they are trying to get home. They may also swim as a way to escape danger. Just don’t expect one to be paddling in your local pond! 

Chad Fox

Chad Fox is an author and researcher dedicated to bringing reliable information about foxes to the public. He supports animal sanctuary awareness.

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