Can You Identify These Land Animals While They're Swimming?


By: Teresa McGlothlin

6 Min Quiz

Image: BBC America

About This Quiz

Most land animals can swim, but some of them don't like it! It's necessary sometimes, though. Whether the heat is demanding a furry animal take a dip to cool off or they need to travel to find food, land animals will dive in and get wet just like us humans! Do you think you can identify them by looking at a photo of them while they're swimming? 

Seeing land animals out of their natural habitat might feel a little strange — just imagine how a koala feels when it has to stop munching bamboo and find a waterhole! Nonetheless, we think you'll be able to identify these land-loving, cave-dwelling, tree-hugging animals in the water without much of a problem. While we haven't gone to the extreme of making your pick out a bunch of animals you never knew existed, you'll have a great time figuring out which animal you see when it's wet. 

Dive in at your own pace, and study the photo you see. Once you're sure you know which animal you see, choose it from the list we've given you. You don't need to be a zoologist, but you will have to use your common sense. We know you can do it! Will you correctly identify all 40 of them? 

We don't mean to give you nightmares, but this beast can swim. Which type of animal is it?

As if being slithery, venomous and rattly is not enough to be frightening, rattlesnakes are also excellent swimmers. If they are being pursued and want to get away, it's one of their favorite methods of escape.


It can swim up to three times faster than it moves on land! Do you know what it is?

Sloths are well-known for their slow speeds on land, but it's a different story in the water! Able to swim three times faster, it's not the only aquatic trick it has up its sleeve. Sloths also have the ability to lower their heart rate by two thirds. They can then stay underwater for up to 40 minutes!


Most cats hate baths, but this cat loves water! Which one do you see pictured here?

Tigers are usually found in areas like mangroves and island regions, and it makes swimming necessary to the hunt. Unlike other large felines, tigers have no fear of the water. They do prefer to leave their heads out of the water, though.


This animal comes up for air every three to five minutes, but what is it called?

Hippos might be the second biggest animal that likes to swim, but they move much slower in the water than elephants. On land, hippos can reach speeds of up to 30 MPH. In the water, they only reach a maximum of 5 MPH.


Do you know the name of this dog breed? It has webbed feet and water-resistant fur.

Labrador retrievers love to be in the water! Originally bred as a fishing dog, It is a relative of the St. John's water dog. Both breeds were helpful to fishermen by swimming to retrieve stray fish or equipment.


Its large size works like a floatation device, but can you name it?

You might not think that an elephant's size would make it a good swimmer, but you would be wrong. Elephants are great swimmers! In fact, their body size and shape offer a lot of buoyancy that allows them to float for long distances.


Many think it might fly someday. For now, it can only swim. Which animal is it?

Pigs are usually associated with mud, but they like the water more! Normal farm pigs are not exposed to water as often as the swimming pigs of the Bahamas, but both are adept in the pool.


This hoofed creature can swim nearly two miles at a time! What sort of animal is it?

Camels are sometimes called the "ship of the desert," but their swimming abilities have little to do with it. They can swim up to 2 miles at a time, and they don't mind going underwater, but they are most valued for carrying people and cargo through the deserts.


They don't like to swim, but they're not baaa-d at it. Can you choose the correct animal in the photo?

While sheep prefer to keep their wool dry, they are fairly good swimmers. If they must get wet, they will seek out a shallow place to cross a stream. They are also known to use their swimming skills to survive floods.


Are you able to correctly identify this animal? It has been known to dive up to 20 feet.

If you were trying to escape a charging moose, going into the water will not help you. Using their nostrils as valves to keep water out, they can swim up to 6 miles per hour and stay under water for a full minute.


Some of them like swimming, some of them do not. What type of animal do you see?

Goats can go nearly anywhere they want to go! From climbing sharp rock faces to swimming, they know how to get around. While some breeds do not care for the activity, others have been known to swim long distances to reach inhabitable islands.


What is the name of this cute animal that can swim but not for too long?

The hedgehogs of the African plains do not get the chance to swim as much as those that live near wetlands, but most of them like to go for a quick dip. Rapid exhaustion keeps them close to shore, but some have even been known to enjoy floating on their backs!


This little animal can hold its breath for up to 36 minutes! Which name does it have?

Cute, feisty and extremely smart, raccoons often break into pools because they love to swim! In fact, raccoons hold the record for the land animal that can hold its breath the longest. They can also paddle at speeds of up to 3 miles an hour.


Benjamin Franklin wanted this swimming bird to represent the nation. What is it?

Franklin was (ahem) shot down by a committee led by George Washington, but it's easy to see why he found it to be such a remarkable bird. Turkeys can climb, fly and swim! They kick with their feet and tuck their feathers in close like a duck.


It's not a water dog. Can you name the canine swimming here?

The only thing coyotes don't like might be humans because they don't have a problem going for a swim. Though they prefer to stick to land, they have been recorded swimming up to half a mile at a time when fleeing or hunting.


Which of these animals is doing the breaststroke here? It's probably looking for a new patch of grass.

If bison were unable to swim, they would not be able to graze as freely as they do. When they need to cross a river or stream to find food, they will swim lengths of up to half a mile. Their huge size helps them stay afloat.


They might not lay eggs, but some types have adapted to swim. What animal do you see here?

Swimming might not be the thing that comes to mind when you think of a rabbit, and most of them do not care for getting wet. The swamp rabbit, however, has adapted to its environment by developing webbing on its feet.


Can you correctly choose the type of rodent doing a few laps in this photo?

It's not their specialty, but moles will swim if they must. At a maximum speed of 5 miles per hour on land, moles are great at getting away. When it comes to water, they can only last about 10 seconds.


They swim as well as their cousins in the Arctic. Will you figure out the type of bear here?

Their northern cousins, the polar bear, can swim for up to 220 miles! Black bears, like the one seen here, might not be able to go that far, but they do spend a lot of their time swimming to catch fish in local rivers, lakes, and streams, though.


It really doesn't sleep upside down, but it loves to get wet. What's it called?

Opossums are the only marsupial native to North America, and they are impressive swimmers. Not known as one of the fastest animals on the planets, opossums tend to take their time on land. They also enjoy a leisurely float down the river when the weather is hot.


Water can ruin their coats, but which swimming animal is this one?

Alpacas are full of spirit and covered in highly prized wool-like fur. Like most land animals, they love to play in the water, but they really shouldn't! Long-term exposure to water can ruin their coats by rotting the fibers. They don't care, though. They love nothing more than a wading pool.


This African animal swims to cross flooding plains. Can you name it?

There are three types of zebras found in Africa, and all of them are capable of swimming. Whether escaping flooding plains or migrating with their dazzle, they move their 800-pound bodies through streams the same way that dogs swim with their heads above water.


When they are not building dams, they like to do the backstroke. Which animal do you see taking the plunge?

Beavers love water so much that they always live near it. Weighing in at up to 71 pounds, these sharp-toothed animals have a broad tail that acts like the rudder of a ship. Their back legs are webbed, too.


Do you know which land animal is in this photo? It does not like deep water.

Eastern box turtles have an average lifespan of between 25 and 35 years. Though they can swim and float quite well, they prefer to stay in shallow water. They are the clumsiest swimmers of all the turtles.


No matter what it's wearing, it likes to swim! Which name is given to this creature?

When they are not busy forming a line to swap shells, hermit crabs love to take a dip. To survive, they require both saltwater and freshwater to submerge themselves in. They save the moisture in the back of their shells to make breathing easier.


Can you name this animal that can swim but doesn't drink the water?

Woodchucks are a little like camels. They do not need a lot of water to survive. Rather than drinking it, they prefer to hydrate with dew and plant moisture. They are quite graceful swimmers, though.


Swimming makes them stinky, but they are naturals at it! What type of bird is pictured here?

Unlike ducks, chickens do not have webbed feet or water-resistant feathers. It doesn't stop them from swimming, though. They aren't the greatest swimmers, but they were born with the ability to paddle.


When it's not eating eucalyptus, it likes to take the plunge. What tree-loving animal is this?

Koala bears sleep up to 22 hours per day. It's hard work to digest a diet of leafy greens! When they are not snoozing or eating, they have no problem going for a swim. They can occasionally be found taking a dip in local waterways.


Most marsupials can swim, but which one is enjoying the water here?

They can hop at speeds of up to 44 miles per hour, but they also enjoy swimming. Kangaroos are the largest marsupial. When they swim, they stop hopping and use their back legs to doggie paddle.


Going for a swim can make them sick, but they can do it. What terrestrial creature do you see here?

Hamsters prefer dry environments, but they are not without the ability to swim. In a pinch, they can paddle as well as any other creature. However, they are highly susceptible to pneumonia. Getting wet or getting water in their lungs could be fatal.


Water sports are not their favorite activity, but they will swim when they need to do it. Which animal do you see here?

Red foxes prefer to stick to the woodlands, but they can cross streams and ponds in search of food. Despite their cat-like distaste for water, they are quite adept at swimming.


Water doesn't confuse this animal as much as crossing the road. What woodland animal is swimming in this photo?

Like beavers, squirrels use their tails to navigate their way through the water. Swimming might not be their first choice of things to do, but squirrels can doggie paddle as well as any other animal.


This animal is not known for its ability to scale things, but it's not bad in the water. Do you know what it is?

Garter snakes are one of the best things you can have in your garden to keep away pests. Unlike other snakes, they are not great climbers, and they prefer to lay low. When it comes to water, they are not one bit afraid to dive in.


Can you correctly choose the extremely hungry animal in this photo?

If you've ever been to the zoo, you probably already know that pandas can swim. Just like polar bears, they use their huge paws to paddle. They might not frequent the water, but it's because they are busy eating up to 15% of their own body weight every single day.


It can stay under water for 48 hours! What animal do you think you see here?

Scorpions are tough little animals that can live in many different types of terrain. Swimming is not their favorite activity, but their lobster-like body allows them to move through water without any problem.


Which Indonesian native is pictured frolicking in the water here?

When a Komodo dragon hunts, it can prop itself up on its tail and stand on its hind legs. When one Indonesian island is running short on food, Komodo dragons can swim great distances to reach an island with a better food source.


This animal would rather build a bridge, but it does go swimming. Can you name it?

Badgers rarely live alone. They like to live together in little groups called cetes, not to be confused with badger homes, which are called setts. If they have to swim, they will. But badgers are more inclined to gather their group and build a bridge with sticks and stones to cross.


This North American animal will do anything for food, including swim. Do you know what it is?

Wolverines grow to about the size of a cocker spaniel, but they are one of the most ferocious carnivores found in Canada and Alaska! When they need meat, they will climb, run or swim to find it. Swimming isn't their preferred method of travel, but they will do most anything for a steak.


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