Do all mammals know how to swim?

Source: BBC

By Josh Gabbatiss

My girlfriend’s grandparents, Audrey and Hamish, are an inquisitive pair with a keen interest in all things biological. One day, they decided to test a pet theory of Audrey’s.

“I’ve always thought that all mammals can produce milk and that they can swim,” she says, “although not at the same time.”

And so, it came to pass that they found themselves gathered with their daughters around the garden pond clutching their pet guinea pigs. “We had a fishing net in case anybody got in trouble, we put the guinea pig in one side, and it doggy-paddled – or guinea pig paddled – over to the other.”

“That’s the only experimental experience we have,” says Hamish, explaining his view that because most mammals walk on four legs, they should be able to swim instinctively using a “doggy-paddle” style.

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