Like all rodents, hamsters can swim and are capable of reaching the speeds needed to swim swiftly through the water.
However, their tiny bodies aren’t always suited for swimming continuously. Some hamsters are able to get in and out of water easily, but others are more challenging.
So, can hamsters swim? Hamsters can’t swim, and they never will.
Hamsters aren’t water creatures like whales, fish, or sea turtles. They’re actually desert creatures that live in dry climates, such as the Sahara Desert.
Hamsters need dry conditions because they lack sweat glands. Therefore, they can’t regulate their body temperature in water like other animals can.
Hamsters can also drown because they can’t swim. Hamsters are very prone to drowning, as they have a short life expectancy.
Finally, if hamsters were to swim, their fur would absorb water and they would drown.
Can Hamsters Swim?
Hamsters have the instincts to scurry away when placed in water.
They, however, avoid swimming and attempting to flee when in water because their body structure is different from that of other mammals that can breathe underwater for prolonged periods of time.
When a hamster is put in the water for the first time, it feels uncomfortable because it isn’t used to being submerged in water.
Exhaustion may swiftly overpower the hamster’s ability to move due to the effort it takes to stay afloat in the water.
Why Should a Hamster Never Get Wet?
Water deteriorates the hamster’s fur and skin very quickly.
Water is really dangerous for hamsters, and it’s best you avoid getting your hamster wet all the time.
When your hamster is wet for too long time, you risk exposing the hamster to infections that it won’t recover from.
Hamsters can’t survive in water for a long time, and they don’t have the fur to protect them from cold water. In comparison, it’s best you keep a hamster in waterless environments.
A hamster may die if it spends too much time in the water.
Other, potentially deadly infections may set in if your hammy gets too wet for too long; these include yeast infections and ringworm.
What Should You Do If Your Hamster Gets Wet?
Remove them from the water as soon possible and dry them off with a towel or blanket.
Before drying your hamster off, be careful to remove any excess water from their eyes, ears, and mouth to prevent infections.
Also, make sure your hamster is in a warm, dry environment so it can recover.
You can put a hamster in a shallow dish or a pan with a towel hanging over it to dry off.
Take a clean and warm towel or a blanket and place it on your kitchen counter or on top of a warm stove until it dries out completely.
A hairdryer may be a good option but make sure you use it on a low setting to avoid burning your rodent’s skin.
Remember that you must get your furry friend dried within 30 minutes or less of being exposed to water.
Keep your hamster warm by placing it in a warm environment without drafts; avoid letting your animal be cold. Because it may become dehydrated due to shivering or exhaustion.
Replace your hamster into their cage once it is fully dried and warmed.
How to Keep Your Hamster Clean
A sand bath is an easy way to disinfect your hamster’s bedding without causing any pain or discomfort for your animal.
First, make your hamster’s bedding wet with lukewarm water.
Then, give them a small container of a handful of fine sand and let them play in the sand bath for a while.
After your hamster has gone through the sand bath, it’s best to clean its bedding thoroughly with warm water and soap to remove loose sand particles from the cage.
Chinchillas need sand baths on a regular basis to maintain their hygiene and keep their skin healthy and clean.
Chinchilla sand is sprinkled in the bottom of a clean plastic container and then filled with warm water until most of the water is absorbed by the sand.
Place the dish in the hamster ‘s home and give it some time to explore its environment and get comfortable before placing in the cage to dry off.
Hamsters, like other rodents, are social animals. This makes them engage in grooming behavior among other rodents, such as mice and rabbits.
Apart from their bedding, your hamster’s fur should also be kept clean; this will keep them hydrated and prevent any infections from setting in.
You need to clean their fur every 7-10 days to prevent their fur from matting.
However, cleaning should be done regularly. For example, daily if your animal lives in a communal group such as a pet store or a zoo.
They clean their whole body with a brush for just a few minutes a day to keep them looking healthy and clean all the time.
If you find that your hamster need further help grooming its body, you can supplement the brushing process by giving them a bath using a damp cloth.
Make sure to use a brush afterwards to remove the loose hairs from its coat.
Also Read: Why Do Hamsters Lick You?
Dangers of Getting Your Hamster Wet
Water eliminates your hamster’s natural mechanism that helps them cool their body down.
Warm water can be bad for your hamster during the summertime because it can cause your hamster’s body temperature to rise dangerously.
While fresh water can clean your rodent’s fur, it can cause it to develop skin irritations if the bath isn’t deep enough.
Salt water is never a good option when bathing your hamster because it may cause respiratory problems.
If your hamster is exposed to a salt water environment, it should immediately be taken to a veterinary clinic for treatment to avoid permanent damage to its lungs and other internal organs.
Water may cause tension in your hamsters muscles leading to cramps and muscle spasms; this can lead to paralysis of the legs or even death.
Your hamster may get cold if it bathes in warm water during the winter season.
Water exposure may cause hypothermia, which is a medical condition that happens when the body gets too cold for its own good.
To summarize, exposing a hamster to a warm or cold water bath is not a good idea unless you’re a trained professional who can handle an animal properly without causing it any harm.
Hamsters can swim, but don’t expect your pet to do that when you put it in water; it doesn’t know how to swim.
It should only be immersed in water for a short duration to prevent hypothermia and other serious complications that may come along with it.
By training your pet wean it off from bathing in water; this will help it get over its natural instinct to run away from water.
When you no longer need to give your hamster baths regularly, you can then stop these baths altogether.
But avoid bathing your hamster too often by cleaning its fur using a brush at least once a day instead.
A sand bath is an excellent alternative for a happy and clean pet.
I’d avoid immersing my pet in ice because extreme cold can damage its sensitive organs, especially the ears which are more prone to frostbites.