Can hamsters swim?
Hamsters are definitely not born swimmers. However, hamsters can swim if they get into an emergency situation. In the wild, hamsters kept in Germany come into contact with water only sporadically. This is because they usually live in dry areas and so swimming, is not an issue for them for logical reasons.
Of course, the situation is a little different for a field hamster living in Central Europe. Here it can be that by heavy rainfalls he is forced to cover short distances swimming. But it does not correspond at all to his nature, but is his preservation instinct, so that he does not have to drown.
Hamsters swim only in exceptional cases
As we have already described above, hamsters can swim. However, this is solely due to their instinct, which makes them swim in emergency situations. A hamster confronted with a large amount of water will be rather skeptical of it and try to avoid it. Voluntarily swimming a lap will not happen with a hamster.
If a hamster falls into the water unprepared, then it will panic. It may go into shock rigidity, which is typical of many rodents when panic has taken hold of them. If this rigidity persists, then he will most likely drown. Otherwise, it can swim short distances to get out of tricky situations.
Is swimming unhealthy for hamsters?
Considering how unnatural swimming is for a hamster, we can also assume that swimming is unhealthy for the animals. The stress level is incredibly high and it is not uncommon for the animals to go into shock, as we described in the section above. In extreme cases, this shock can lead to cardiac arrest.
Especially older animals, which are no longer so fit, can suffer severe health damage here. Younger animals can be exposed to high stress by this extreme and unnatural experience and the massive stress, can lead to a shortened life span.
A wet coat can make your hamster sick
A wet coat can cause your pet to freeze. The moisture reduces the natural function of the fur to keep the animal warm. This can cause a cold or even pneumonia, which can be very stressful for your hamster. A wet coat can weaken the entire immune system and should be avoided.
Another aspect is the oil content of the coat. This is important to maintain all the functions of the coat. Water reduces the oil content in the coat. A small downpour, for example, will simply roll off a healthy hamster coat due to the oil content. However, if the entire hamster body has been soaked while swimming, then some of this oil has been washed out.
Another consequence of too little oil is that the become dull and lose their luster. They become thinner and can no longer store the heat of the body well and also the cold from the outside penetrates more easily through the fur. Therefore, also never bathe a hamster.
Without swimming or bathing, that's how grooming works?
The hamster should not come into contact with water, except, of course, when he wants to drink something. But how do you clean a hamster? You should not clean a hamster, because the hamster, if it is healthy and normal, does this exclusively by itself. This works pretty well with its paws and tongue.
However, you can perfectly support him with a sand bath, so that he can perform his cleaning as he is used to in the wild. For this purpose, there are special vessels to buy, which are equipped with holes into which the hamster can climb. These small openings ensure that during the sometimes wild sand bath, not too much of the sand flies through the area.
For the However, sand bath must not be arbitrary sand be used. Here you should buy special sand. This is commercially available under the names small animal bathing sand or chinchilla sand. This sand is rounded and low in dust, has no odor and is completely free of additives. Additives would be, for example, shell grit. However, this is sharp-edged and should never be found in bathing sand for rodents.
Can hamsters swim? - Conclusion
Yes, almost all hamsters can swim, their instincts ensure that in an emergency situation they make swimming movements that keep them afloat. However, if this situation comes as a surprise, then rigor mortis can set in, causing the animal to drown. Therefore, never put your hamster in water or bathe it during play, this would be anything but good for it.
Garden animal - A life with nature
Welcome to my animal blog! My name is Dirk and I am happy to take you on my journey through the fascinating world of animals and gardening.
Born 54 years ago, I have had an insatiable curiosity for the animal world around me since childhood. Although I have moved professionally in other industries, my true passion has always been animals and nature. It is remarkable how a small garden has become such an important part of my life.
Many of my fondest memories are associated with the animals that share our home. Whether it's the curious squirrels that scurry across the trees in the morning, the colorful variety of birds that visit our feeders, or the busy bees and butterflies that pollinate our flowers, every moment with them is invaluable to me.
This blog is my contribution to share my experiences, discoveries and insights with like-minded people. Here I will share stories of unforgettable encounters with animals, give tips on gardening and creating wildlife-friendly habitats, and take you on my journeys through nature.
Thank you so much for being here!
Dirk aka garden animal