Can Hamsters Swim? Does Your Furry Friend Like Water?

Anamika Balouria
Dec 28, 2022 By Anamika Balouria
Originally Published on Oct 22, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Syrian Hamster Sits In A Pink Toy Bath.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.7 Min

Every creature has a few specific abilities to thrive in the natural environment, and the hamster's ability to swim in water is one good example of this theory.

The hamster is a small rodent that enjoys playing around at night and can even swim in water, however, that does not mean that a hamster likes water. A hamster actually resists being around or near water bodies.

Hamsters are tiny and have a quick reaction time. When it comes to bathing, a hamster cleans itself naturally with its saliva.

When a hamster lives in the wild, it is rarely found near water bodies. A hamster is accustomed to living in arid climates and weather conditions. If a hamster gets wet, it is possible that it will become ill and contract a cold or pneumonia.

Although a hamster can swim, becoming wet poses a number of concerns. Hamsters experience stress, which has an impact on their mental and physical well-being.

A hamster is known for being odorless and lacking in their own sense of smell, however, a hamster stinks because of the rotten food scent and the hamster's wee and poop on their mattress or cage.

If you enjoy reading this article about can hamsters swim, then do read some other interesting and surprising fun facts about can hamsters see in the dark and can monkeys swim.

Do hamsters like water and swimming?

Hamsters can swim, but at the same time, they do not like water. They can catch a cold due to their wet coat and can suffer from physical health issues.

Hamsters are small rodents, familiar with living in a dry environment. The habitat they live in is the steppes and the deserts of Asia and the Middle East.

In such a natural environment, wild hamsters do not have access to water. They have adapted themselves to living without water. At the same time, it does not mean that you cannot imagine a hamster in water.

Hamsters swim and are good at swimming. In their natural wild environment, these small rodents will hardly be seen around water bodies or swimming in water. Hamsters try their best to stay dry in warm areas and resist getting wet. If hamsters get wet, the body wash could bring changes in their body temperature.

Giving a bath to your hamster is a must, and according to their body type, a sand bath would be like swimming in water. Hamsters are known to be odorless and do not have their own smell, so you're probably wondering why they stink.

The answer to this question is that hamsters are rodent animals that rely mostly on rodent food.

Naturally, the smell of rotten food and the hamster's droppings around their bedding or cage make them smell bad. If your hamster is smelling bad, then it might be possible that the hamster is suffering from some disease. Do not panic or stress and call the vet immediately.

Can hamsters stay and swim underwater?

No, hamsters cannot swim underwater or stay underwater. A hamster would probably drown itself in the water if the water was deep enough beyond its physical body size. It will affect their mental and physical health.

Making your hamster wet can be life-threatening by putting the immune system in a pit of disease like a cold or pneumonia. You should always be conscious that your hamster is naturally capable of swimming but does not like water as it changes their body temperature. A hamster hates a wet fur coat.

Hamsters stress out, which affects their mental and physical health. They might turn more aggressive towards you. The pool size of your house is not suitable for a bath. The pool size must be almost equal to their own size, i.e., almost a bowl. A hamster is able to swim, but getting wet involves many risk factors.

When hamsters get wet during the bath, the water washes away the natural skin oils that help them to moisturize naturally. The bathwater could make them catch a cold and their chances of getting pneumonia increase. You will notice that the stress level of pet hamsters increases when you are putting them into water.

According to the stimulus condition your pet hamster is kept in, they might even bite you in response to the stimulus provided. Hamsters might be prone to the wet tail disease, which is commonly seen in hamsters.

Their immune system weakens with a wet fur coat. Hamsters are even exposed to hypothermia, which enables them to regulate their body temperature.

A hamster always looks for an escape way out of the water by peddling or swimming in water. Dwarf hamsters need more care with the water level of their bathe tub or bowl because of their size.

Hamster on the wet sand beach near rotten log.

Different Types of Hamsters And Their Abilities In Water

Yes, dwarf hamsters and Syrian hamsters swim in the water, but pet size and water level of the bathtub or bowl should always be taken into consideration.

Dwarf hamsters, like any other hamsters in the wild such as Syrian hamsters, are well nurtured to live in dry conditions. Both hamster species are capable of swimming but do not like water or baths.

In the case of dwarf hamsters, you really need to be cautious about the water level of the bathtub as your pet might drown in it.

Hamsters are known to be very quick in their movements, including dwarf hamsters. Dwarf hamsters are fast groomers and clean themselves naturally by licking their own bodies. So, indirectly, we can say that they do not require a water bath and hamsters swimming in water can be skipped as they love to be dry.

You should always check your pet dwarf hamsters' underbellies, as rotten food or droppings get stuck to this part, mostly on their bedding in the cage. They pee there, so the chances of getting stuff in their cage might increase.

You must do regular checks. Since dwarf hamsters are small, pet wipes can also be used to keep your hamster from getting wet.

Should you bathe your hamster and how?

Yes, hamsters should be cleaned regularly, otherwise their chances of getting ill or catching disease increase. However, giving baths to hamsters using water should be avoided. Instead, animal wipes, or sand baths should be used for their grooming.

Now you are aware that little pets like hamsters can swim, but they avoid being around water as it trigger stress and panic. A hamster might even fall sick and you might indirectly pave the way to their death. You can use a sand bath instead of a water bath as getting a hamster wet is riskier.

Wash your hamster with sand. Chinchilla sand in a small bowl can be used to bathe small furry pets without frightening them.

The bowl of sand can be kept in the cage of pets and later be removed once they are done taking a sand bath. All the dust on them and any sticking out things will be removed by the sand.

Hamsters enjoy being in the sand and there is no risk of a change in their body temperature. The natural oils of the hamster's body are not removed or washed away, helping them to moisturize themselves.

Apart from the sand bath, you can use wipes or a washcloth in order to gently wipe them. Once done with wiping, you can use a dry, soft towel to dry the hamster and place it in a warm cage.

Generally, it is known that these rodents are fast and an expert at cleaning themselves. Hamsters often use their saliva to clean themselves from their fur down to their small, tiny legs and long tail.

They naturally remove the dirt and parasites from their furry bodies. If you see your hamster doing this often, then it would be advised to leave them on their own.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for can hamsters swim, then why not take a look at can hamsters eat tomatoes? or hamsters fun facts for kids.

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Written by Anamika Balouria

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Bachelor of Education specializing in Secondary Education and Teaching, Master of Arts specializing in English

Anamika Balouria picture

Anamika BalouriaBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Bachelor of Education specializing in Secondary Education and Teaching, Master of Arts specializing in English

A dedicated and enthusiastic learner, Anamika is committed to the growth and development of her team and organization. She holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in English from Daulat Ram University and Indira Gandhi Institute for Open Learning respectively, as well as a Bachelor of Education from Amity University, Noida. Anamika is a skilled writer and editor with a passion for continual learning and development.
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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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