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Do Hamsters Smell?

Do Hamsters Smell Bad?

Some pets, such as ferrets, are known for having a bad odor. You may be wondering if hamsters have a similar issue, especially if you have young children, as hamsters can make for an excellent starter pet. Should you be concerned? Do hamsters smell bad?

hamster-on-ropeTypically, no, hamsters do not smell bad. A female hamster may smell a bit funny whenever they go into heat, but hamsters are very clean animals. Usually, if they smell bad, it is because the hamster is sick or their cage is the actual source of the foul smell. 

Keep reading to learn more about when hamsters smell bad. 

When Do Hamsters Smell Bad?

Again, hamsters clean themselves frequently, so there is usually some sort of issue if a hamster develops a strong smell. Hamsters may smell bad in the following situations:

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hamster-under-sunThe Hamster Is in Heat

Whenever a female hamster is in heat, she may have a strange smell. This scent is meant to attract a mate. A female hamster typically experiences a heat every few days. Male hamsters can also have periods of arousal where they are smellier than usual, about once or twice a year. 

The Hamster Is Sick

baby-hamsterIf a hamster is sick, it often makes their urine and their stool very smelly. If a hamster suddenly smells bad and they are not in heat, it is important to check and see if they have wet tail. Wet tail is basically diarrhea caused by stress, but it can kill a hamster if left untreated. 

The Hamster Cage Needs Cleaned

hamster-cageHamsters pick one corner of their cage to use the bathroom in, but it eventually starts to make their bedding stink. Old food that has been hidden in bedding can make the cage smell, as well. Generally, a hamster cage should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a week. 

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What to Do if Hamsters Smell Bad 

If a hamster is in heat, sick, or using old bedding, changing the bedding can help to get rid of the smells. For a hamster that is sick, seeing a vet is also important to diagnose and treat whatever is causing their smelly stool or urine. 

For heats or smelly bathroom corners, you can change the bedding of the nest or the bathroom corner only to greatly reduce any smells without having to do a thorough clean of the entire cage many times in one week.


hamster-as-petHamsters are excellent pets for anyone who is willing to clean their cages at least once a week. This prevents the typical likelihood of any strange smells. Hamsters clean themselves frequently and avoid using the bathroom in more than one corner of their cage. 

Sometimes, cleaning out and replacing the bedding in the corner where the hamster uses the bathroom or spends their heat is all that is necessary to do away with bad smells. If a hamster is acting strangely and experiencing smelly diarrhea, they should be taken to a vet immediately.  

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