The mechanical characteristics of bacterially synthesized nano-cellulose (BNC) were studied with uniaxial compression and tensile tests. Compressive loads result in a release of water and the deformation of the water-saturated network corresponds approximately to the volume of released water. The BNC hydrogel exhibits a mainly viscous response under compression. The strain response under tensile loads has an elastic and a viscous component. This can be described with a Maxwell model, where the viscosity is strain rate-dependent. When the aqueous phase of the BNC hydrogel is stabilized with an additional alginate hydrogel matrix, the system exhibits an elastic response under compressive loads. The analysis of the ‘alginated’ BNC network with the Maxwell model shows that the alginate matrix increases the viscosity of the composite system. The results of the mechanical tests show that the water absorbed in the BNC hydrogel strongly influences its mechanical behavior.