If hamsters in general, and their behavior, in particular, is a topic that interests you, you will find more information here. Hamsters are very active pets, in constant search of a new activity or item to play with. They also tend to chew on any available item, therefore losing a pet hamster in your home is nothing to joke about.
The risk of it chewing on electrical wires is quite high, posing a real threat to the hamster’s life, but also causing a big inconvenience to the household owner, as well. The key element here is having a proper, secured hamster enclosure to keep your pet in, but also to be aware of the hamster’s natural escaping and hiding habits.
Given their small size and how fast they move around, alongside their jumping ability, some would say a pet hamster is a master of escaping cages. However, there are specially designed enclosures that will keep your pet inside them, in a safe and secure way, while providing your pet a wide variety of playgrounds and hiding places, all essential to its overall wellbeing.
Any pet hamster owner should make sure the enclosure they are about to use for their pet is not only suited for hamsters but also suited for the particular hamster species they chose to have as companions. Because hamsters vary quite a lot in size and coat type according to the species they belong to, special attention needs to be paid to this aspect.
Hamster hiding habits
Hamsters use hiding as a way of feeling comforted and at ease. Since they are nocturnal animals, they will usually hide during the day and sleep until night falls. Pet hamsters use their bedding to create sleeping burrows or some of the house-like accessories available in their enclosures. This habit of hiding during the day helps them maintain their overall wellbeing.
Hamsters will also hide out when they get scared. It is important for them to have a secure hiding place available in case they are frightened since they have high heart rates as it is. A scared and stressed hamster can easily suffer a heart attack. Having plenty of bedding and accessories suitable as hiding places ensures keeping your lovely pet’s emotional and mental balance.
Also, pregnant female hamsters that are approaching their due date will very often hide looking for the perfect place to build their nests. Giving birth is an event that is closely prepared by the hamster mother to be. One thing we can do to help them throughout the process is constantly providing fresh and clean bedding, as well as a stress-free environment for them.
This is to be kept in mind by the pet hamster owner, especially since after giving birth, the mother hamster should not be disturbed at all, not even for cleaning her bedding. The first two weeks after giving birth are key in ensuring proper development of the hamster babies. The risk any owner is taking when choosing to disturb a new mother is that of her eating her babies.
More on hamster bedding
First and foremost, hamsters use their bedding as a hiding place. This is very important for the pet owner to know for two main reasons. The first one is to prevent the owner from thinking his or her hamster just went missing since he/she does not appear to be in the cage. There is a high chance your hamster is hiding somewhere in the layer of bedding.
Secondly, any hamster owner should know just how important the bedding is to the overall health of the pet hamster. When choosing the bedding type, you need to make sure that it is appropriate to the type of hamster you have. Some rough bedding material might cause injuries to your tiny buddy.
Also, the bedding must be kept clean at all times since hamsters do not use it for toilet purposes only since they will often go underneath it. Moist bedding, with a high ammonia fume level, may cause lung problems. Moreover, the bedding is also used for nest building when females approach their due date; therefore, keeping it clean is of utmost importance.
Suitable bedding should meet three criteria at the same time: it should be absorbent, safe and comfortable for the pet. Also, being non-toxic is an absolute must. And last but not least, it should be light enough and made out of a suitable material, so that the hamster can dig in and around it as it pleases, and make it into a bed, just like he/she would in the wild.
And last, but not least, the bedding you use for your hamster needs to be close to 100% dust-free. When hamsters use their bedding as a burrowing place, inhaling a lot of dust particles may also lead to serious lung issues, that are hard to cure and the success rate is not among the highest ones.
What to do if you lose your hamster
Just in case you just noticed your hamster is no longer in the enclosure, the first thing you need to do is to close all doors and windows, to prevent the little guy from going outside, to the less friendly world of potential predators. After doing that, you need to figure out how long it has been on the loose and work out a retrieval plan.
Keep in mind that hamsters feel comfortable in narrow spaces, where predators cannot reach them. Therefore, any tight, dark place in your house is a potential hiding place. If your hamster has escaped its cage a very short while ago, then proceed to close all the access ways to that particular room and leave the cage door open. Eventually, your tiny friend will get hungry and thirsty, and come out looking for a place that smells familiar.
If, however, your pet hamster has been out and about for a long time, meaning a few hours, then it could be anywhere in the house. Since they are nocturnal animals, you may have to wait for the night time to hear any movement noises that would be helpful in locating the lost pet hamster. After having located it, again close all doors and other access ways to that particular room, and leave the cage open and available.
Overall, keeping a close eye on your furry buddy, as much as you can, may help avoid a lot of unpredictable situations. This also helps your tiny pet stay out of trouble. Keep in mind that as much appreciated as accessories may be, they come with disadvantages, mainly due to the risk of your pet injuring its limbs while using them.
How to prevent losing your pet hamster
Hamsters will escape their enclosures for one of two possible reasons: either the cage has deteriorated over time, thus creating a suitable exit route for the tiny pet, or the hamster is not provided enough accessories and entertainment within the existing enclosure, thus becoming curious and eager to escape.
To prevent your hamster from escaping its cage you first need to constantly check the integrity of the enclosure. Keep in mind that hamsters are excellent chewers, therefore a new hole can be created within hours. Secondly, make sure you purchase an appropriate enclosure, to begin with. Avoid adapting cages meant for other types of rodents to suit hamsters.
Keeping your hamster clean, fed, and entertained is one sure way of avoiding unwanted escaping. A pet hamster that is provided enough chewing material, hiding accessories and bedding is considerably less likely to attempt escaping its enclosure than hamsters that are kept in unsuitable conditions.
Another aspect of this situation to be kept in mind is that hamsters are excellent climbers and jumpers. Do not leave the top of the cage open just because your hamster looks tiny and you do not think it could get out. The hamster will definitely use the given opportunity and take a closer look at what surrounding environment your room provides.