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How to Find a Lost Hamster

Last Updated: 07.04.20


Hamsters are renowned escape artists, whether they are provided a sizable hamster habitat or not. To find a lost hamster you need to establish the area he/she is currently in by listening or putting out food, keep your doors closed, and set out special traps to secure him or her once again.

Hamsters are cute tiny animals that have been part of our homes and families, as beloved family members for a long time. Although they might have a temper sometimes, they are one of the most popular pets for kids across the United States. So it happens that sometimes, hamsters escape their cages and roam freely around the house.

This would normally be ok, as we keep cats and dogs freely in the house, but things are very different with hamsters because they are rodents. They might chew on the wrong things, such as power cords or other potentially dangerous items. This means hamsters on the loose are a hazard to the household and themselves.

The last thing you want to face is your pet hamster chewing on the main power cord, getting electrocuted and creating quite a nuisance, as they will chew on just about anything they come across, and when you combine that habit with their hiding habit, you have quite a situation on your hands.

In case this happened, and your hamster is out and about, there are quite a few things you can do to get him or her back in the cage safe and sound. To get this tricky job done, you need to follow a few simple steps that will help you get your hamster back where he/she should be. In the following lines, you will find useful tips and tricks on this topic.



Steps to be followed

In case you just noticed your hamster’s cage is open and empty, don’t panic, as there is something you can do about it. First of all, you need to establish the area your hamster might be in. You need to assess how long has he or she been out of the cage, how far in the house the pet might have gotten and whether there were any open doors or windows nearby.

In the worst-case scenario, your pet hamster has been on the loose for a long time, and all the doors in the house were open. In this case, there are two more things you can do. You can listen carefully for any hamster-specific noises, such as squeaking or chewing noises. It’s best to do that at night, when hamsters are active, as they might be asleep during the day.

If this method of locating the lost hamster does not work out, then you need to move on to the next one. Take several small cups, put a few pieces of food inside them and place them around your home. Make sure you count the pieces of food, and you put the same number of pieces in every cup. Also, place the cups in dark places around the house, such as room corners.

In the morning, check out all the cups, and you will most probably notice some food missing from one cup or from several cups in the same area. This means you just established the search area, and from that point on it’s best to keep all doors closed to prevent your hamster from moving to another area of the house. 

Keep in mind that they will hide in crowded areas, such as dressing rooms or closets. There is a slim chance of them hiding in areas such as bathrooms, that are cold and quite an open space compared to a dressing room. With that in mind, be on the look-out in every room of the house, making sure you do not scare the tiny buddy once you’ve spotted him or her.

After you are sure of the area of the house that should be searched, you are ready to move on to step number two. In order to prepare for the second step, make sure you prepare everything you need during the day, and set out the traps at night, as hamsters are nocturnal animals and they mostly like to sleep in a hide-out throughout the day.


Setting out a trap

There are two ways you can go about this, and you should choose one of them based on the general behavior of your pet hamster. You can either set out an open wire cage with food inside or a plastic bucket with a ladder leading to it. If you know your hamster is a climber and loves exploring, you might want to choose the second one.

If your choice is setting out a trap made out of a plastic bucket, you need to choose a bucket that is tall enough to prevent the hamster from getting out of it after he or she had fallen in it. After choosing the right bucket, it’s best to put a blanket or a cloth inside, to make sure the hamster does not get hurt due to the fall. 

The next step is building the ladder leading to the bucket. To do that you want to choose items such as CD cases, or books that you can put one on top of the other, creating the perfect and safe ladder that leads to the bucket opening. Make sure you put small pieces of food on the steps, to show your friend the way up, and put some food in the bucket too.

If, however, the wire cage trap is your choice, here’s how to do it. Place the cage next to a wall, as hamsters will never walk across an open space. Open the cage and place the door downward, this way creating a ladder for the hamster to climb on. You can put some peanut butter on the ladder, to make it more attractive to the lost hamster.

Make sure to place your hamster’s favorite food inside the cage, as well as water, a wheel, and all the favorite accessories of your beloved pet. This acts in two ways, as it allures the hamster inside the cage, but at the same time, having loud accessories inside the cage will let you know that he or she is in, and you can go and close the door, securing the pet inside.



Preventing future escapes

There are a few things you can do to prevent your beloved pet hamster from escaping his or her cage. For instance, if you keep your hamster in a glass enclosure, make sure you do not put tall toys or accessories inside it, as hamsters will climb on them and jump out of the enclosure. Also, make sure you do not hang any water or food containers inside the cage, for the same reason.

In case your hamster is kept in a wire cage, make sure you always close the door properly after handling your pet. Improperly closed cage doors are one of the main reasons for lost hamsters. Also, make sure you check the cage for any damage due to the hamster’s chewing habits. They can create holes in the cage this way.  

Keep in mind that a happy and healthy hamster is less likely to be constantly on the look-out for opportunities to escape, as opposed to uncared-for hamsters. Therefore, make sure you keep your hamster clean, well-fed, and handled daily. Handling your hamster daily also gives you the chance to spot any abnormalities or illness in due time.

Hamsters are renowned biters, especially when things are not to their liking, thus there is a chance he or she will bite you while being handled and this way you might drop the pet hamster, giving him or her the chance to run away. To prevent that from happening, make sure your hamster is tamed and handled at least daily, to keep him or her friendly and calm.

Yet another situation your hamster might take advantage of and make a run for it is the time you clean the cage, therefore it is advisable to first place your hamster in a separate, safe enclosure, and thoroughly clean the cage afterward. This way you prevent possible escapes but also potential injuries that might happen during the cleaning process. 



Irina Ionescu

As a long-term learner and animal lover, Irina helps her readers find the best products and accessories for their pets, as well as the latest training techniques, tips & tricks on how to handle animals.

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