Can Deer Swim?

Heather Smithers/CC-BY-2.0

Deer are accomplished swimmers, often seeking the safety of rivers and lakes where they achieve swimming speeds up to 15 mph. One species, the Chinese water deer, native to China and Korea, lives in the shallow areas of rivers among reeds.

Deer are also agile on land due to their hooves with two toes and strong, muscular legs that enable them to run at speeds up to 40 mph and jump 10 feet high. Deer have exceptional hearing, and muscles in the ears allow them to operate independently of head movement. Their acute sense of smell also alerts them of predators.