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Can Deer Swim?

Can Deer swim?

Those who enjoy wildlife videos or who have observed deer migration, this may seem like a very obvious question.

Deer swim very well. The swimming ability that a deer possesses gives them a unique advantage as it gives them a fighting chance against hunters and predators.

Deer are widely known to cross lakes and rivers even in deep waters with their strong powerful legs and sizable hoofs. 

They also possess hollow hair, which can allow them to stay afloat through easy mobility. This ability exists, but is not commonly known at all.

Additionally, deer can swim for large distances without tiring out. The real question needs to be if all deer can swim.

There have been repeated sightings of seeing baby deer drown whilst trying to emulate the adults. Others also have speculated that certain species of deer cannot navigate through the water like others.

Read on to see these questions explained in detail and more!

How Many Species Of Deer Can Swim?

Generally all species of deer can swim. If you have an adult pet deer, you can test this theory by building a pond for the deer. 

Also, you can browse through YouTube, and you will see deer of different species paddling through for hours as humans would do at the olympics. 

However, what is most impressive is that some species of deer have been known to actually live in the water. 

Not as fish like you’d imagine.

There are very distinct species of deer that live near the shallow parts of the river and these are called water deer.

The two subspecies are the Korean water deer (Hydropotes inermis argyopus)  and the Chinese water deer (Hydropotes inermis inermis). 

Both of these subspecies have been nicknamed vampire deer because they have prominent tusks which are similar to musk deer.

It communicates with a BARK sound, especially when it senses a predator.

In addition, whitetail deer are known to swim exceptionally well due to an adaptation to their coat.

How Far Can A Deer Swim?

Some deer have been known to swim up to 10 miles without tiring out. Their strength and stamina is impressive. This mechanism is explained by their strong leg muscles and strong hooves.

It is these muscles that enable them to power through waterbeds for long periods of time.

I know you’ve watched deer on Discovery or YouTube, but it’s hard to tell how powerful they are under water.

Have you ever noticed how fast a group flees whenever a predator attacks?

In most cases, the unfortunate ones were not as fast as the predators (e.g., cheetahs) or didn’t detect the predator’s presence in time.

Their powerful legs make them excellent swimmers. We’ve seen a couple of deer that we were able to maneuver through hungry crocs in the water.

How Fast Can Deer Swim?

Some deer have been known to clock speeds of 15mph on water, owing to the characteristics mentioned above.

Their hair coat makes it easy for them to float and is the key to their speed. Their topcoat consists of hollow hair filled with air.

A large part of their body is kept afloat by the nature of their hair.

They can navigate through strong currents, sometimes, due to these features and their powerful hind legs. On land, they can reach top speeds of 40mph with their powerful legs.

Are Deer Strong Swimmers?

We know that deer are athletic, as their speed sometimes beats some ferry boats that transport humans.

I think it’s time to realize that swimming is not just a pleasurable activity for all deer, but is primarily a survival adaptation.

Bodies of water provide a haven from predators (Biting insects included) when deer are attacked.

Take for example when you are chased by a dog in the street. Your first instinct is to find the highest point available to seek refuge until the dog leaves or someone chases it away. 

This same process will happen with deer. In order to avoid land-based predators such as tigers and cheetahs, their initial instinct will be to avoid them via the closest body of water. 

Deer also swim for food. There is a popular story on the web which describes how amazing it was to see a deer dive into the deep end of a stream to reach a bit of the corn that was swept in there. 

Can Baby Deer Swim?

As we’ve already discovered, adult swimmers are excellent in the water. Some are even good swimmers underwater, but swimming in water could be a challenge for a baby deer. 

Baby deer are inexperienced and will tend to tire out quicker than the adult deer. Several baby deer have been known to be trapped in people’s pools. 

In these situations, they will require the assistance of animal control or an experienced person before they come out.

However, sometimes they might not be so fortunate and drown after paddling for hours. 

Baby deers will not have fully developed legs and they do not have as much hollow hair as adults do. 

Therefore, the answer to this question is clear. Can baby deer swim? Yes. Do they swim as well as adults? No.

Do Deers Like Water?

In terms of the health of a deer, water is very essential for them. They drink water when it is readily available to them. 

Despite this, deer can also still get by with minimal drinking. There is variability when it comes to the amount of water a deer needs and also its preferences for drinking.

Final Thoughts

Any questions on a deer’s ability to swim should now have been answered. As you can see by the facts on this list,

there is great variety in terms of the ability of deers which can be affected mostly by age but also by the specific breed of the deer. 

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