Can Hamsters Swim?

Can hamsters swim? Yes! Although they live in dry conditions, they are generally not slanted to get into the water, and they, for the most part, don’t like to get wet.

Placing your hamster in water and forcing them to swim will put them under a ton of stress. This pressure can debilitate their immunity and make them prone to infections like cold or pneumonia!

You might not think about any swimming capabilities of a hamster when you buy them. You also don’t think if they need a bath once in a while. Therefore, you have to understand the relationship between water and your hamster. 

In this guide, we will provide answers to all these questions, so keep reading. 

What Happens If You Put Hamsters for A Swim? 

Hamsters swim to save their lives when drowning in the water only if they don’t have any other option. So, swimming is not an exciting activity for your little friend. 

If you force your hamster to swim, it will become overly stressed, which is not great for its overall well-being and mental health. So, let’s find out how to wash the dirt and clean them. 

Do Hamsters Enjoy Water? 

Generally speaking, hamsters don’t enjoy playing in the water. Instead, they prefer to stay dry and try their best to keep it that way. 

If you see those hamsters swimming in different YouTube videos, you must also see that such videos don’t get too many likes because people know that putting hamsters in water is a cruel act. 

Hamsters and Their Swimming Capabilities

Let’s find out whether hamsters like to swim in water or prefer to live in dry areas.

Hamsters love dry environment 

Hamsters prefer to live in a dry environment. This is particularly the case with dwarf and Syrian hamsters. They live in the deserts and steppes of Asia and the Middle East. While living in these regions, they don’t have much access to a lot of water. So, their bodies have adapted to such conditions, and they can spend a long time without water. 

Hamsters can swim

Many studies have shown these little rodents can swim. But spending time in the water is not their innate trait. Out there in the wild, they do not encounter a lot of water. 

But if they do get in the water for some reason, they will make an immediate effort to get out of it as soon as they can. They will start paddling towards the nearest shore as soon as they are in, and those high temperatures will dry their fur. 

Risks associated If a Hamster Gets Wet

If your little friend ends up getting wet somehow, it can prove to be fatal for them. We are listing down some of the risks.

  1. Water tends to remove their natural body oils. This will make it extremely difficult for your little friend to groom itself. 
  2. If you expose him to cold water, there is a risk that he might get pneumonia, which can be lethal for your little furball. 
  3. If you expose your hamster to water, it might get tense and bite you. 
  4. Your hamster can also get a “wet tail” that can be fatal if not treated immediately. 
  5. Exposing it to water can also result in hypothermia and takes away the ability of your hamster to regulate its body temperature properly. 

As you can see, these are some severe conditions that you will expose your little friend to if you get it wet. You will have to be very careful because water and hamsters are not good friends. 

What Should I Do If My Hamster Gets Wet? 

You cannot allow your hamster to swim in the water. Any heavy contact with water can prove to be fatal for your little friend. The only exception is, you can allow your hamster to drink water. But what if your hamster accidentally gets wet? 

Well, you can take the following actions:

  • Use a soft and dry towel to remove any excess water from them. 
  • Keep your hamster’s cage warm. 
  • You can always use a hairdryer to dry the fur if you have a wet hamster. It will significantly make the drying process quicker. 
  • Keep an eye on your little friend to check if he shows any signs of sickness or disease
  • If you notice that your hamster sneezes or has diarrhea, you can immediately seek assistance from a vet. 

How to Clean the Hamster? 


We already know the hamsters hate water but how to clean them? Here are some tricks you can use:

They groom themselves

You might think, if your hamster cannot get wet, how should you clean it? Well, your hamsters are experts in grooming and cleaning themselves in no time. 

They use their saliva to clean their body from head to toe. So, they remove any parasites and dirt from their bodies. Therefore, if you provide your hamster with extra help to get clean, make sure you don’t use water for this purpose. 

They love sand bathing

Instead of water baths, hamsters love to sand bath. Those critters need such baths regularly. This is because it allows them to keep their fur clean. 

You can place sand in a small bowl and allow your hamster to get into it. You can put it right into your hamster’s cage, and they will jump into it without wasting time. But make sure you remove the sand from the cage when they are done. 


Your hamster cannot clean or groom itself with a sand bath in some unusual and extreme cases. However, if you see there is no other way, you can use a washcloth. Gently use this piece of cloth on your hamster’s body as if you are patting it.

Continue to use the cloth until you manage to get rid of the dirt or any other substance. After that, you can use a soft dry towel and place your little friend back into the cage.  


Final Word

Hamsters can swim, but they don’t like to spend time in the water. The only time they prefer getting in touch with water is if they want to drink it.

You shouldn’t even bathe them because this might prove fatal for their mental and physical condition as they get stress, pneumonia, or even hypothermia.

Leave a Comment