Why Is My Hamster’s Water Bottle Leaking? 4 Main Reasons

A hamster water bottle leaking is annoying, but many times is quite easy to solve the problem since there are only a few things you can check.

Most water bottles have five elements: the tube where you put the water, the lid, a drinking metal tube with a metal ball, a gasket, and a clip to be attached by the cage.

Before getting to the article is important to know that one or two drips from the water bottle when you just filled it are fine. It’s usually what was on the tube since you move it quite a lot.

hamster water bottle

4 Reasons for a leaky water bottle

Those are the four main reasons for a leaky water bottle.

1. Missing or damaged casket

As with all things that have a gasket, this is the most common reason for a leaking water bottle. The good part is that it can be fixed, the bad part is that it can be quite hard to find a gasket that suits your water bottle.

Also, considering the time and money spent to find a gasket might not be worth it since the water bottle itself is quite cheap. You might find one online, and if you have free shipping, it can be a solution, but if you have to pay shipping costs, it will probably cost more than a new water bottle.

So make sure you check the bottle to have all the parts when you buy it.

2. Loose lid

A loose lid is more common, but it’s usually not the fault of the water bottle itself, but rather you didn’t close it tight enough.

So this is not a problem that a water bottle has but rather negligence on your part. As you can imagine, this is quite easy to fix.

All you have to do to fix a loose lid is to open it, fill the bottle with water if needed, and close it tightly.

I know from my water bottle that sometimes it doesn’t align perfectly, and I have to do it again. Make sure you check if the bottle is leaky before attaching it to the cage.

3. The ball bearing

Most water bottles have one or more ball bearings that create a vacuum and stop the water from leaking uncontrollably.

They should not drip if they are in the right position, but a few things can displace the small metal balls.

If you don’t wash the bottle regularly, it might accumulate debris that can change the ball’s position and make the bottle leak.

We will talk about how to clean water bottles later in the article.

If the bottle is clean, but the balls are still displaced, all you have to do is to take the lid out and shake it a bit.

4. Crack in the bottle

This one is quite obvious, and hard to fix.

If you see a crack in your hamster water bottle, your best option is to change it with a new one or to return it to where you bought it if it’s new.

There might be a few temporary solutions, but it is not worth the time and effort.

You don’t know when it will crack again if you don’t fix it well, and you might not be home for a few days, which can put your small hamster in danger. Here is an article about how much time a hamster can live without food or water.

One extra tip, this is not for a water bottle that is leaking, but it’s similar. I noticed that my current hamster, while digging in the bedding, moved it underneath the water bottle and it touched the ball bearing, essentially letting water run constantly and soaking all the bedding. So it wasn’t the bottle’s fault, but it can be quite dangerous for your hamster, especially if you leave the house for a few days.

So make sure you don’t add too much bedding in the area where the water bottle is to avoid this situation. This is especially true if your hamster loves to dig and thus move things around. 

Can you use a water bowl?

You should not use a water bowl for your hamster, despite many people recommending it.

It can be quite dangerous for you little furballs since they should never get wet. Hamsters have some natural oils in their fur and getting wet might get rid of those oils, which protects them from sudden temperature shifts. The worst part is that those oils do not regenerate, so once they are washed from the hamster’s fur, they will not have them anymore.

Hamsters are very active and don’t have good eyesight, so we can only imagine that they will get into the bowl or spill it over them sooner or later. They are also not very careful walkers, so their bowl would often get filled with debris like seeds, poop, and bedding, making the water essentially undrinkable. 

It bothers me when I see people recommending water bowls for hamsters without knowing those facts.

A water bowl might be an option only if your hamster doesn’t want to drink from the bottle, but you should be careful with how much water you put into the bowl in this case. 

If you do want to use a bowl, make sure you buy a small bowl and don’t fill it up in case your hamster gets into the bowl not to get wet more than the paws.

Types of water bottles

There are many models/designs for water bottles but as far as types, there are only two.

The regular water bottle that you attach to the cage, and only the metal tube gets inside the cage, which is the most popular one and, in my opinion, the most effective since your hamster doesn’t get to chew on the bottle.

I always used this type since it’s the easiest to get out and change the water without bothering your hamster too much.

Here you can find a good one on amazon:

The second type comes with a stand, and you place them inside the cage.

Those are the best ones if your cage doesn’t allow you to place the bottle on the bars or if you have a glass tank, which can be a great house for your hamster, but it will not allow you to use a regular water bottle, except this one from amazon which can work but I haven’t tried it.


But if you are looking for a type that stays in the cage, this one might be the best for you


How much water does a hamster drink?

A hamster will drink about 10ml water per 100g body weight. A Syrian hamster weighs between 85 and 150 grams, meaning a maximum of 15ml water per day should be enough.

So when you buy a bottle, you should aim for a big enough bottle to make sure your hamster has enough water in case you leave the house for a few days (so something like 100 ml). But make sure the tube is not large, do not get a bottle fit for a guinea pig or rabbit !

To ensure your hamster bottle is working and your hamster is actually drinking water, you should see a bubble that goes up in the tube when the hamster is actively drinking water.

How often to change the water?

There is no rule that says how often you should change the water of your hamster, usually it should be good until it empties if the bottle is not way too big.

It depends more on the water quality than anything else, so if the water is good, you should not worry about how often to change the water in the bottle.

When it comes to what temperature the water should be, room temperature or cold but not very cold water is good.

water bottle

How to clean a water bottle?

I’ve said that I will come back and talk about how to clean the water bottle, so here we are.

Many people recommend using disinfectants or homemade ones with bleach and so on, but there is a huge risk if you don’t rinse the water bottle thoroughly after using bleach or any soap or disinfectant.

This is my 6th year of having a hamster pet, and the first two died of old age so they were pretty healthy, I would say, but I never used anything else other than hot water to clean their water bottles.

It is safer this way, you can unscrew the tube from the water bottle and rinse it with hot water, then do the same with the bottle itself. Afterward, wrap a paper towel on the end of a spoon and clean the inside of the bottle with that paper towel.

Rinse them with hot water one more time, and everything should be clean and ready to use again.


A leaking hamster bottle is annoying, but now you know where to check and how to fix it, or if the bottle is cracked, at least you know that you should buy a new one without trying to fix it.

And again, do not use a water bowl for your hamster only when they don’t want to drink from the water bottle.