Cows are amazing animals that provide us with both beef and milk. These are two ingredients that many Americans use just about every day. Cows are one of the largest animals that humans deal with regularly, and there are many interesting facts about them. One of the questions we get most frequently from new owners that have water on their property is if cows can swim. The short answer is yes, cows can swim but keep reading while we look deeper to find out if they like it and if they’re any good at it to help you be better informed.

divider-multipet Can Cows Swim?

One of the most surprising facts that most people learn about cows is that they are good swimmers. Like many mammals besides humans, cows seem to take to the water naturally and have little trouble swimming to the other side of a pond or stream. In fact, most cows can cover much larger distances.

Cows Swim
Image Credit: Pixabay

How Do Cows Swim?

Cow swim just like they walk. Their massive bodies provide them with the buoyancy they need to stay afloat, and their four powerful legs act like paddles that propel them through the water. In fact, since their legs no longer need to support their massive weight, most cows can swim for several miles without getting tired.

Cows usually keep their heads above water while their swim in their horns help to keep the head tilted back, so the mouth and nose stay out of the water.

Why Do Cows Swim?

Cows frequently swim to better grazing lands and enter the water to escape predators and sometimes to cool down on a hot summer day. Cows will even take their children into the water, and it’s common to see them swimming during a flood.

Is Swimming Dangerous for Cows?

No. Cows are naturally excellent swimmers and will have no trouble in the water. The only time they will get into trouble is if they get too tired before they can reach land, which is extremely unlikely since swimming is easier than walking for most cows, and they can usually go several miles in the water without getting tired. You can even observe small calves swimming quickly in the water without getting tired, but if there is no escape from the water, the cow could get tired and drown.

Do Cows Like Swimming?

Yes. All signs point to cows enjoying swimming quite a bit. They often enter into the water without provocation and will take their children in as well. It’s likely quite relaxing as most cows weigh more than 1,500 pounds, and it’s a natural behavior since no one needs to teach cows how to swim, and it helps them escape predators, cool down, and gain access to more food.

Sometimes, they will be afraid of the water at first, especially if they don’t live on a property with a pond or other water source that they can enter. However, once you begin exposing the cow to the water regularly, it will quickly forget its fears and enter the water like the rest.

Cow beside the sea
Image Credit: Pixabay

Benefits of Swimming for Cows

  • Swimming is an excellent form of low impact exercise
  • Swimming boosts metabolism.
  • Strengthens the heart and lungs, which improves circulation.
  • Swimming decreases inflammation.
  • Strengthens leg muscles
  • Swimming reduces anxiety.
  • Swimming can help rehydrate the skin.
  • One cow used its abilities to ride a waterslide into a swimming pool to escape from a slaughterhouse.

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divider-multipet Summary

As you can read, cows are not only good swimmers, but they seem to like it quite a bit. It’s a skill that likely developed naturally as cows and predators would both need to visit waterholes at the same time throughout history. It also opens up the possibility to reach new food for many cows. Since we’ve seen them get into the water plenty of times for no good reason, we believe it helps take the strain off their legs and feels good.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this short guide and found the answers you need. If we have helped remove any fears you might have had, please share our look into if cows can swim on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay