Last updated on November 4th, 2022
During a visit to the local aquarium, a student asked me a unique question about whether only aquatic creatures can float.
I understood what my first grader was asking whether floating and swimming are the same things.
Moreover, he was also confused about whether swimming was something that only fish could do. I found the question quite intriguing, and it got me thinking about animals that can float on water.
Animals that float on water:
I have sometimes seen documentaries about animals swimming, but these were mainly to flee from predators.
However, several animals can float, and for some, it is an essential activity for survival. Some of the animals that float on water are as follows:
List of animals that float on water:
Ducks are excellent swimmers, they can float and bob up and down in the water.
This is because the feathers on the duck’s body are water repellent which ensures that the water slides off the duck’s back.
This is the origin of the saying ‘water of a duck’s back’, but it is added to the buoyancy of the bird.
A duck can stay afloat on the water with the help of the barbs on its feathers, which latch together.
This creates tiny air bubbles within the feathers that increase the bird’s buoyancy.
The bird’s webbed feet help it to paddle ahead, but it is the feathers on the body of the duck that helps the bird to remain afloat.
The same buoyancy allows the duck to bob in and out of the water and prevents the bird from sinking.
There are particular floating creatures in the animal kingdom, and plankton is one of them.
These microorganisms are found in both seawater and freshwater. They are free-floating or wandering organisms as they cannot float against the current in the water.
Plankton can float on water because they have flattened bodies as well as spikes which allow them to spread out their weight over a large area.
As planktons are microscopic, you will find them moving in colonies and you will mostly find the planktons floating on the surface of the water.
Sometimes planktons can move vertically, but this is mainly in the case of lakes and rivers.
Planktons can float easily because these creatures have a larger surface area compared to the size of their colony.
Ants are unique creatures as they can learn to survive together.
If an ant falls into a water body, it will be difficult for it to survive. Ants are not good swimmers, and when left alone, ants can struggle to swim. Eventually, the insect will sink.
But if several ants of the same species fall into a water body together, it can float on the surface for an extended period.
Ants can join their bodies together to form a raft that will help them stay afloat, and by staying together, the insect can ensure the survival of not just one of its kind but all the other ants that have fallen into the water.
By linking their bodies together, the ants can increase the surface area available, which helps keep the insects afloat.
This way, the ants can stay afloat and survive not just for some hours but several days.
Corgis are a unique species of dog and easily distinguishable because of their shape and size.
The barrel-shaped chests of the corgi dogs prevent them from becoming excellent swimmers. Along with that, corgis’ short and stout legs prevent them from swimming fast.
The only thing that this particular breed of dog likes to do with water is float.
Therefore, you will mostly find a corgi splashing around in shallow water and staying afloat with its head staying above the water level.
If you are a regular swimmer and have swum in open-air pools or love swimming in streams or natural lakes, you must have observed that worms are floating on the water.
Earthworms and several other species of worms can easily survive on the surface of the water for some time and do not sink quickly.
Sometimes these worms act as food for fish, and you will find fishes swimming up to eat these worms.
But worms cannot stay afloat for long and cannot swim, so eventually, they sink.
Sometimes after heavy rains, you might see worms coming up to the pavement because their burrows get flooded with water, and they cannot stay afloat for long on the water of the drains.
Hence, they come to the surface for oxygen and to survive.
Lice are one of the most troublesome problems you could have faced as a child.
As a child, if you loved swimming, but if you ever suffered from head lice, you would have to miss classes till you are free of lice!
The primary reason is that lice can stay afloat on the water for many hours.
Although lice from the infected person’s head cannot infect another person even if both are in the same pool, it still contaminates the pool water.
Along with that, chlorine does not kill lice. Lice can float on water and hold their breath for about four to eight hours.
This is unusual, mainly for a parasite. But in swimming pools, head lice can easily get transferred through contaminated towels.
Fleas can float on water with the help of surface tension. They stay afloat like mosquitoes.
Fleas can move ahead on the water with their ability to stay afloat. But fleas cannot swim. If a flea gets submerged in water, it will die.
If you force a flea down into the water, it will escape the first few times with the help of surface tension like mosquitoes.
While floating on water, if a flea senses any danger, it will jump off the water and move to safety.
The water does not represent any safe or secure location for a flea. Fleas will stand or stay afloat on water only when necessary. It will move away the moment it senses any danger and will secure itself.
What animals float on water?
The animals that float on water are ducks, planktons, ants, corgis, worms, lice, and fleas. Some of these animals don’t like being in the water for too long and will slowly propel themselves to the closest surface.