While reading the Hamsterific hamster FAQ, I read about never giving hamsters a bath.

That's a naughty word in the hamster world; hamsters don't like water sports. Nature has provided hamsters with a natural oil to maintain the condition of their fur. That's why they spend so much time grooming. Although they can swim, water baths are not recommended. If a wet hamster becomes cold, it can lead to flu and possibly death.

The last line really puzzled me. It inferred that wetting a hamster could lead to its death.

  • Is it true that wetting a hamster could be fatal for it?
  • If so, how effective is their skin oil at keeping their skin clean and comfortable?
  • Should I bathe my hamster?
  • Yes, it is true that wetting a hamster could be fatal. Give it a nice sand bath to roll in. You can use commercial sand from pet shops. Do not water bathe it . Aug 4, 2017 at 18:30

1 Answer 1


Hamsters are desert animals and are built to live in an environment with a lot less moisture in it. That leads to a couple of considerations:

  1. They need to be warm. Despite the fur, they're not a cold temperature animal and so are vulnerable to cold.

  2. They're not naturally water creatures, given desert origins, and so one wouldn't expect to bathe in water.

  3. Wet fur can lower body temperature, especially as it evaporates, so getting them wet could lead to sufficient chill to cause illness because they need warmth.

My hamster, Jack, was very clean and his fur was always soft. I never had a concern that he needed to be bathed or was "dirty" as a result of his efforts.

  • 2
    You should offer him a tub of appropriate sand for him to clean his fur.
    – bot47
    Mar 21, 2014 at 22:03