Hamsters are cute and fun pets to have at home, and if you have a pet hamster of your own, you surely want to take the best care of it that you possibly could.
With pets, keeping them clean is important, and regular baths would seem like a normal part of their routine. However, you don’t often see pictures of hamsters in water.
Can hamsters get wet? It is not advised to let your hamster get wet, nor to give them a bath. Hamsters are not able to handle the shock in the change of temperature and can develop hypothermia quite quickly. Baths can also be quite stressful and even traumatizing for your hamster.
Keep reading to find out more about why you should not let your hamster get wet, and how hamsters stay clean all on their own.
Why Can’t Hamsters Get Wet?
Hamsters are fairly sensitive creatures. Their bodies cannot handle a sudden change in temperature, and with the thermal shock and their wet fur, a hamster will very quickly begin shivering quite severely.
It does not matter how warm you keep the room they are in or even the temperature of the water. Once the hamster has been removed from the water, their fur stays cold and this can lead to hypothermia in a very short time.
The risk of them becoming too cold, which is high, and developing hypothermia, just is not worth it. There are not many ways that you could warm them up enough after being removed from the water, and the chances are that they will continue to shiver for quite some time outside of the water.
You should also not put your hamster in water because there really isn’t any reason to. Hamsters do not need to be bathed, and they are quite good at keeping themselves clean. They comb through their fur throughout the day and do a pretty good job at staying hygienic this way.
Avoid the temptation to put your hamster in a bath, and trust that they will clean themselves just fine on their own!
Water Inducing Stress For Hamsters
As prey animals, hamsters are known to be sensitive. They become scared and frightened very easily, and are always on alert.
They have built-in anxiety that always has them on edge. Couple this with them getting wet, which is something they are not used to, and your hamster will be in a very stressful situation.
Not used to the feeling of being wet, your hamster will begin to panic if put in a bath or a body of water. Not being good at dealing with panic and stress, hamsters can actually develop stress-related illnesses, which can at times be fatal for such delicate creatures.
This panic and stress, combined with the fact that their bodies do not deal with temperature changes well, and them feeling too cold, leads to a very dangerous situation.
Hamsters stay warm thanks to their wooly fur, which consists of short, fine strands that are close to their body and keep them very warm. This offers great insulation for them, but if wet, this insulation is lost, and the fur stays wet for longer, which makes the situation worse.
If you come out lucky and your hamster recovers from a bath or dip into water, they would have still gone through an incredibly stressful, almost life-threatening situation, and their anxiety-prone nature will be affected by this.
It is best to avoid water altogether, other than just for drinking if you want a happy, healthy hamster.
Hamsters Keep Themselves Clean
Your hamster does not need a bath. As soon as they wake up, almost a third of their time is spent grooming themselves and combing through their fur. Much like cats, hamsters do a great job at regulating their hygiene and staying clean throughout the days.
Some people complain that hamster cages smell, but this actually is not your hamster being dirty at all. Hamsters will nominate a corner of their cage as their pee-corner, and this is where they will go to do their business.
This corner of the cage is what smells, and not your actual hamster. Regular cleaning of their cage will reduce the smell, and you won’t notice it as much. There is no reason at all for you to wash or bath your hamster, and it is going to do nothing other than harm and stress them out.
Hamster fur also does a great job at regulating its natural oils, and these oils are perfectly balanced to keep the hamster clean and healthy. By bathing a hamster, you would be stripping it of these natural oils, and these oils might never actually balance themselves out again.
This destroys your hamster’s fur, and their natural cleaning processes will never be the same again.
How To Prevent Your Hamster From Getting Wet
Bathing your hamster is not the only way that they might get wet. There are a few others ways they might come into contact with water or excess moisture that could be stressful or harmful to them. Here are some ways to prevent your hamster from getting wet.
1. Give Them Water Through A Bottle
Avoid placing a water bowl into your hamster’s cage, and instead, give them a water supply through a water bottle. This is because your hamster might accidentally fall into their water bowl or tip it over onto the cage or themselves, and this could wet their fur, or cause moisture and dampness in their cage.
A water bottle is perfectly fine for them to drink out of, and they will get the hang of it soon enough. A bottle will also help keep their water source free of contamination and dirt.
2. Choose The Right Bedding
You need to do your research and take your time to choose the right bedding to use in your hamster’s cage, as well as the nesting material you include. Some bedding and nesting materials can trap in moisture, and this could cause dampness and even mold spores, which your hamster might sniff up.
It is important to change the bedding in their cage at least once a week, to avoid any moisture and to avoid bad odors.
3. Get Rid Of Moisture Traps
Hamsters love having hideouts in their cages, somewhere to retreat to and feel safe. However, you need to be careful with the hideout you choose for your hamster. Especially in warmer, humid climates, hideouts can trap in moisture.
This moisture can then wet your hamster’s fur, or even cause the enclosure to feel colder, which could put additional stress onto your pet.
Wood is the best option for a hideout, as it will not create condensation and it absorbs and expels water better than most other materials.
4. Supervise Children
Never leave children under the age of 12 playing with a hamster unsupervised. They might not know the importance of keeping a hamster dry, and anything could happen.
While you will be supervising children around their hamster, you should still explain to them the dangers of getting the hamster wet and the best ways to avoid it.
5. Keep Them Close To Their Cage
Hamsters are small and quick, and when handling them outside their cage, they might jump out of your hands before you even know what’s happening.
When handling your hamster outside of their cage, whether for playtime or to clean their cage, keep them close by, and do not handle or hold them around water, as they could very well jump out of your hands and land into this water.
Do Hamsters Like To Swim?
Hamsters can swim, as most mammals can, but hamsters do not like to swim at all. They live in dry environments, and never need to be submerged in water.
Your hamster definitely would not want to take a dip in cold water on a hot day, and this experience can be incredibly harmful to them.
If you think your hamster is hot, make sure they have enough cold water in their water bottle, and try to cool their room down with fans or air circulation. They do a great job of regulating their temperature on their own, and anything else might interfere with this.
No matter what your reasoning might be, you should never get your hamster wet. Their little bodies cannot handle the temperature change, and their anxiety will be off the charts.
Your hamster does a great job of cleaning themselves, so avoid water and leave them to be happy and dry!
Can Hamsters Die From Water?
If your hamster is in contact with water that is too cold, they might develop acute pneumonia, which can be lethal to them. The stress caused by the cold water can also be really dangerous.
Can Hamsters Swim?
Hamsters can swim, but they should not be put in water, and they would not enjoy going for a swim. Most mammals are capable of swimming, even if it is something they do not do normally. Being able to swim does not mean that your hamster should.
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