Rats & Water: Can They Get Wet, Swim, or Bathe?

Have you ever wondered if rats enjoy water? You’re not alone. Every day, many people wonder if their pet rat can safely swim, take a bath, or even get wet at all. It’s a good question to ask because some rodents are more drawn to water than others.

It’s an important question to ask. After all, dumping your rat into a pool of water without knowing if they enjoy it or are even capable of swimming can have disastrous consequences!

Luckily, rats are not nearly as vulnerable to water as some other small pets, such as hamsters. They’re actually quite good swimmers and some even enjoy going for a swim once in a while! To learn everything you need to know, keep reading, or if you prefer a video version of the answer, we’ve got that covered as well.

Rats can safely get wet

Image source: Flickr

Rats can get wet, but it is very important that you dry them off right away after they’ve gotten wet.

For instance, if they accidentally fall into a body of water, have just taken a bath, or even if they’ve just taken a leisurely swim, it’s crucial that you dry them off afterward.

The reason why it’s so important to dry them after they get wet is that being wet for too long can cool down their body temperature which can be dangerous.

Not only can a wet body lead to hypothermia in rats, but it can also result in respiratory infections, something that rats are already quite prone to getting.

The best way to dry them off is by using a towel until their fur is completely dry.

Do not try to use a hot blow dryer to dry them off. The heat from the blow dryer is too much for your rat and can actually hurt them!

Rats are fantastic swimmers

Rats are excellent swimmers! Whereas some rodents, such as hamsters and guinea pigs, aren’t too great at swimming, the swimming ability of rats is almost too good to believe.

Did you know that rats can swim or wade in the water for up to three days? In fact, they can even survive being flushed down the toilet and can make their way through the sewers into people’s homes through the toilet!

On top of that, rats are even capable of swimming underwater and can hold their breath for up to three minutes!

The reason why rats are such great swimmers compared to some of their rodent relatives is that they naturally get a lot of contact with water. They often settle near rivers or streams which has given them a lot of experience and exposure to water.

Rats actually enjoy swimming

Most rats do really like to swim. The best way to find out if your furry friend is a true water rat is by simply giving them the opportunity to find out.

To do this, introduce them to the water gradually. Nobody likes to be thrown straight into the deep end, and that includes your pet rat.

Start by placing them in a bowl or pan that has no more than a few centimeters of water. Deep enough for them to play around in, but shallow enough for them to be able to stand. This gives them some sense of security because they’re able to touch the bottom with their feet.

Keep an eye on their body language to determine whether they enjoy this. If they seem excited, relaxed, or happy they probably enjoy it, if they seem stressed, anxious or angry they might not be a big fan of water and would rather stay on land.

If your rat enjoys the situation, you can increase the amount of water so that they can swim around. Always keep an eye on them to make sure that they’re actually having fun and to prevent drowning.

The ideal setup would be a place where your rat can swim but that also allows them to get out if they’ve had enough or are getting tired. Something like this is a good idea of what you could be aiming for:

If the weather is cold, you can let your rat swim in the bathtub, just make sure that the water is not too cold.

On warmer days, you can also take them outside and let them swim in a kiddy pool or a homemade rat pool. This is a great way for your furry friends to cool down in hot weather!

One thing that is important to note is that all rats have their own unique personalities. That means that they like and dislike different things. If you notice that they’re not very interested in swimming, that’s okay too. It doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with them. Do not try to force a rat to swim that doesn’t enjoy it because that can quickly turn an otherwise fun experience into a source of stress.

Bathing your rat, should you do it?

Image source: Flickr

Rats can indeed take baths, but it’s rarely necessary. Rats are incredibly clean creatures that spend a large part of their day grooming themselves and their friends.

Because of this, they rarely get dirty enough to need a bath.

Nevertheless, on some occasions, they might get dirty enough to where they’d benefit from taking a bath. Luckily, since rats are usually not afraid of water this is not a very difficult process.

In fact, if you’ve already introduced your rat to water and bathed them properly, it can be a fun, relaxing bonding experience for the both of you!

Here are the steps to follow to give your rat a bath:

  1. Fill a bowl/tub/sink with a couple of inches of lukewarm water. The water should be shallow enough to allow your rat to stand.
  2. Gently place your rat in the bowl.
  3. Cup some water in your hand and pour it over your rat’s fur.
  4. If you’re using shampoo, make sure to use special small-pet shampoo, and lather it into their fur. Cover all their fur, but avoid the head and ears.
  5. Cup more water into your hand to rinse off the shampoo, and repeat until all the shampoo is gone from their fur.
  6. Take your rat out of the bowl and dry it with a towel. Make sure that you dry it properly because keeping their fur wet can cool down very quickly, which is bad.

If you followed these steps, bathing your rat should be easy and fun. Keep in mind that rats shouldn’t be bathed too often. They do a great job at keeping themselves clean without the need for baths. Only use it as a last resort when they’ve gotten dirty or stinky. If you bathe them too often it can result in important oils being removed from their fur.

Final words

Rats love the water and are excellent swimmers. Unlike some other rodents, rats are naturally at home in the water. They do not fear it, but rather embrace it. This does not only mean that they can have fun experiences playing and swimming in the water, but it also means that taking a bath is a much simpler process for them.

However, even though rats can easily take baths, they don’t need it very often since they’re such clean animals.

ThePetFaq Team