Can Arctic Fox Swim? Is it Their Inborn Skill?

Yes, they can swim. However, you won’t find them swimming for fun or as a habit. They swim only when they need to do so. The basic two reasons lie here: Escaping the predators and Migrating from one area to another.

Their dense fur coat helps them to swim with balance. You can say about their swimming style, slow and steady wins the race.

There are enough facts to share about the swimming of arctic foxes. Let me take you more in-depth regarding their swimming attitude, purpose, area and speed. You would see whether their swimming is related to their livelihood.

How Does an Arctic Fox Learn to Swim?

It is mentioned earlier that Arctic foxes are not likely to swim as a habit or for enjoyment. But yes, they have the inborn quality of swimming.

They are normally considered good swimmers and have the same swimming style as dogs. They keep their heads out of the water as they are not deep-water swimmers.

They will paddle with their paws in a forward -motion. The paws will move in a circular direction. Though the speed would be slow, their skill in swimming is quite visible.

Moreover, you won’t see them swimming in local lakes as they occasionally don’t dive into the water. Rather they avoid puddles and get into any water in their hour of need.

Do Arctic Foxes Like Water?

They do not like water but avoid the activity of swimming as much as possible. One of the reasons behind this is the fur they have on their body. This is what happens to their fur:

  •  Reduction of the fur oil
  • The heaviness of the fur results in a less agile fox
  • Loss of fur’s ability to hold warmth
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One more reason to explain this point is the attitude of foxes. It prefers being safe. So, even a sprinkle of water or sudden exposure to rays of light can deter foxes. So it proves their disliking of water or, you say, disliking being wet. 

Can Arctic Foxes Swim Underwater?

No, they cannot. Their body is not designed for such practice. You google it on your phone and won’t find any fox captured swimming underwater.

arctic fox

Proving it more, I told you earlier that they even keep their noses above water while swimming.

Plus, fur protection is another reason the foxes stay away from deep, frozen waters. The icy water can cause serious damage to the fur coat of the arctic foxes.

When Do Arctic Foxes Swim?

Let us see by stating the facts one by one. When doing this, the arctic foxes find a need to swim, which they generally avoid:

  • They swim when they have to prey on animals for food.
  • If the arctic foxes are in danger of being hunted, they will jump into the water to save their lives without hesitation.
  • If the land they belong to is across a water body, they swim in the lake or river to reach their territory.

Do you know? Arctic foxes have a special style of preying upon sea animals. They stand firm on the bank, keep looking for the right time to snap and then swish their head in the water to grab the prey. While doing so, you would find their hands and feet still on the ground.

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How Fast Can Arctic Foxes Swim?

The arctic foxes are not fast swimmers. They paddle like dogs and swim steadily but slowly. It takes them time to reach the destination as they swim 2-3 miles per hour.

Why do they not swim fast? It is because they aren’t fans of swimming and avoid water to save the fur quality.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do arctic foxes like to swim?

No, they don’t like to swim. They even get scared by the sprinkle of water over them.

Can arctic foxes climb trees?

The arctic foxes have no trees to climb. But like other foxes, they have the basic skill to do so.

How often do arctic foxes swim?

They swim to grab the food or escape the hunter. So, you may only find them swimming sometimes.

Can you swim with arctic foxes?

Arctic foxes are not afraid of humans and if you feed them heavily, you can even tame them to swim.

Can arctic foxes see in the dark?

Yes, they can. They have a special nighttime vision, and they can hunt during the night time as well as in the day time.


You may find me standing on my final verdict, where I claim that arctic foxes can surely swim. But unlike some expert swimmers, arctic foxes are not regular or fun swimmers.

They only swim when they are in dire need of it. Hence, swimming is, so to say, a tactic for the foxes in times of need.

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