Can Lions Swim? Are Lions Afraid of Water? Wonder No More!

Lions can run significantly fast on dry land, reaching maximum speed bursts of around 45 mph.

Lions are powerful creatures and are apex predators in the wild.

But how do lions handle water? Can lions swim? How fast can lions swim? Do lions need to swim?

Learn the answers to these questions and many more by reading this article.

While lions can reach respectable speeds on land, they don’t fare as well when it comes to being in the water and trying their hand at swimming.

Can Lions Swim?

Lions are known to get in the water to cool off during the hottest parts of the year, but lions swim only when necessary. Lions swim mainly to cross rivers and streams when roaming and tracking.

When chasing prey, lions swim after their prey if their prey jumps into the water in an attempt to escape.

But lions only swim when there is a necessary objective or reason to swim and usually stay away from water unless they need a drink or need to cool off.

Can Lions Swim?

Lions can swim but only choose to swim when there is a purpose for diving into the water and swimming. They don’t swim for leisure and fun.

Lions prefer land over water and aren’t natural hunters in the water. While lions will snag a baby or young crocodile every once in a while and even fight older ones for prey, they don’t usually try to do this in the water.

Lions understand that crocodiles have an advantage in the water and lions have an advantage on land, so lions are aware and cautious whenever they are near bodies of water.

Are Lions Good Swimmers?

Lions are not that good at swimming when compared to other big cats like jaguars and tigers.

Lions don’t spend as much time in the water as some of the other big cats, so lions aren’t as fluid and don’t move as fast in the water as some of the other big cat species.

Lions aren’t the worst swimmers and can manage to do so when needed, but they are more comfortable on land.

How Fast Can Lions Swim?

Lions are not the fastest swimmers. While lions can manage and have enough strength, power, and capabilities to swim, they are typically slower than other big cats because they aren’t as comfortable in the water so they need to move at a slower pace.

Lions can swim between 10 to 25 miles per hour (mph) in most scenarios. The speed is determined by the objective of the swimming lions.

Do Lions Swim?

Unless there is a reason for lions to swim fast like chasing prey or trying to get away from something, they will typically swim at a slower, more cautious pace.

Can Lions Swim in Deep Water?

Lions don’t venture off into the deep water since there is no reason to. When lions chase prey into the water, this is usually more shallow water that doesn’t go that deep.

Lions mainly go near watering holes to cool off in the shallow parts or to cross to get to the other side of streams and rivers.

Lions steer clear of the deeper parts of the water and try to stay near the more shallow parts.

While lions are capable enough at swimming, being in the deep end can be very dangerous for them since they don’t dive or swim underwater and their coats can weigh them down when fully wet.

Do Lions Swim for Fun?

Lions swim when it is absolutely necessary and they don’t swim for fun.

Getting into bodies of water on a regular basis is not as natural for lions as it is for other big cats, so they aren’t as capable of swimming as some of the other big cats such as tigers and jaguars.

Since lions only get in the water and swim for a specific reason, lions don’t swim for fun.

Lions swim when needed, but don’t just hang out in the water for no reason.

Do Lions Like Water?

Lions only go in the water when they have an objective, so it is safe to say that lions don’t like water.

I’ve seen other blogs state that lions like water, but that doesn’t make much sense considering lions only go into the water for specific reasons – such as cooling off, crossing, and chasing prey.

Do Lions Like Water?

None of these objectives sound like a leisure day at the pool. Lions get in and get out of the water as soon as their needs or objectives are met.

Are Lions Afraid of Water?

Lions aren’t afraid of water but lions may be timid around water. This can be caused by several reasons.

Lions aren’t accustomed to the water as much as some other big cats, so they are not as comfortable being in the water since lions just don’t spend that much time in bodies of water.

Lions are aware of the dangers that lurk in some bodies of water, so they tend to be more aware when being around these bodies of water.

Taking a sip of water could be the last for a lion due to the dangers that lie below, mainly crocodiles.


In this article, you learned that lions can swim but they are not the best swimmers among the big cat species.

You learned that lions typically only get in the water when there is a need for them to get in the water.

Lions get in the water to cool off and lions swim to get across bodies of water, such as rivers and streams.

Lions do not swim for leisure and fun and only venture into the water when there is a reason for them to be in the water.

Lions aren’t necessarily afraid of water and will use watering holes as they need, but lions will be more timid around water because it isn’t somewhere they spend a lot of their time.

Lions spend most of their time on land and are only found in water when the need arises.

To conclude, lions can swim and choose to do so when there is a reason to get in the water, but lions prefer to stay on land whenever possible.

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