Can Lions Swim and Do They Like Water? (Myth Busted!)

We see lions dominating the grasslands and savannas, and it’s because these places are their territories. They hide and wait for prey because they are familiar with the terrain. Thus, it’ll make you wonder how they feel in other areas. For instance, you may wonder if they would be the same in water. Thus, you may ask:

Can lions swim, and do they like water? Lions can swim, and they do like water. While we usually see lions out in the wild running, they won’t say no to a cooling time by swimming in the water. Lions are great swimmers and would even try to hunt animals in it.

Lions might not be the best when in water, but they can pretty much do well when it comes to swimming. These animals live in the wild and always get scorched by the sun’s heat. Thus, the cooling effect of water can mean a relaxing time for them.

In this article, we’ll give you an in-depth explanation of lions and how they feel about water. This way, you’ll understand how these big cats feel about water and learn another fact about them.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Do lions swim?

As members of the feline family, lions usually give us the idea that water is a big no for them. However, it’s not true since these animals do swim.

Lions do swim like other big cats such as jaguars, leopards, and even tigers. These animals find bodies of water as a place to cool off amidst the hot weather. It’s also where they show their excellent swimming skills.

The only thing to note is that lions aren’t as good as the other big cats when swimming.

However, these animals swim pretty well, and they can even find food and hunt them in the water.

Do lions like water?

Lions do like water since it’s like a great spot amidst their scorching environment.

One thing to note is that the family of cats has different preferences when it comes to water.

For instance, lions, together with other cats from warm environments, tend to plunge into the water. This way, they can cool their bodies off and relax amidst the warm weather.

On the other hand, cats from cold environments stay out of the water to prevent getting their fur wet. Among these animals are bobcats, snow, leopards, and lynx.

Since their coat keeps them warm, getting it wet means they won’t have any protection against the cold.

In general, any lion wouldn’t say no to a water body amidst a grassland or savanna. It’s their way to keep their bodies cool and to relax.

Can lions swim?

Lions aren’t the best swimmers since they don’t do so all the time. However, when they do find an opportunity, they usually seize it.

Unlike other cats such as tigers, lions rarely swim, but it doesn’t mean they don’t do well.

Lions can cross rivers if they need to do so. Moreover, these animals can hunt other animals in the water if it tries to get there or is already in there.

Do lions like swimming?

As I said earlier, lions like swimming, but not as much as tigers and other big cats do.

If we compare lions to tigers, the tigers swim more often than the lions.

However, it doesn’t mean they don’t like to do so. If given the opportunity, lions would plunge in the water, which will be a cooling time for them.

Now, you may wonder how they swim and how fast they can go in the water.

lions swimming in water

How fast can lions swim?

Lions aren’t fast swimmers, and they may find it challenging to swim in waters deeper than three feet.

These animals tend to stay in shallow waters, but they can swim in deep waters if they accidentally plunge into it.

The thing about lions is that they know their territory well and they know where to stay away. Thus, you can rarely see them swimming in waters where there’s a deep part.

How far can lions swim?

As I said, lions won’t do well in swimming in deep waters, especially for a prolonged time.

Still, as long as their feet can run, they can stay in the water for as long as possible.

Another great thing to note about these animals is finding the best way to navigate the water.

For instance, if a prey runs across the river, lions would find the shallowest part and run across it. It gives these animals an advantage since they are familiar with their territory.

Do lions swim in the sea?

Lions do not swim in the sea, and it’s because it’s not their territory. These animals stay in the wild, in grasslands, or savannas.

Thus, they only go in bodies of water such as ponds and rivers. However, they won’t go through the deep and large waters such as the ocean and the sea.

Can lions swim underwater?

Lions cannot swim underwater, and they can only swim in water bodies until three feet deep.

These animals are familiar with their territory, which means they won’t go into deep waters.

The main reason these animals won’t do so is that they can only swim in shallow bodies of water, and they won’t do well diving underneath.

Also Read: Can Lions Climb Trees?


So, can lions swim, and do they like water? Lions can swim, and they do like water. Although we see lions out in the wild running, they won’t say no to a cooling time by swimming in the water. Lions can swim and would even try to hunt animals in it.

One thing to note is that lions aren’t the best cats in the water. However, they can still swim and navigate their way through it. Another thing is that they can’t swim in the sea or under the water.

Lions only swim in water bodies located in their territory and only on their shallow parts.


Image credits – Canva

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I'm David, and safari has been my passion since I was a little boy - I grew up in South Africa. I love to help spread knowledge about safari, so let me know if you have any questions. Read more