Besides being adorable, hamsters are naturally curious animals that’ll rarely turn down the opportunity to play, exercise and explore. And as experts in hiding, hamsters can leave you frustrated to the extent of organizing a neighborhood search party. So how can you find an escaped hamster?
Here are some of the ways to find an escaped hamster:
- Checking inside the cage
- Searching close to the cage
- Checking underneath furniture
- Checking inside drawers and cabinets
- Searching inside boxes
- Checking inside backpacks or purses
- Checking behind appliances and fixtures
- Looking inside holes or crevices.
Hamsters are notorious escape artists, often using the cover of night to execute their daring escapes.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the ways to find your escaped hamster and have him safely returned to his cage. Ready? Then let’s get straight to business.
1. Checking Inside the Cage
A search for a lost hamster should always start in the cage as your furry buddy could be hiding or taking a nap inside one of his designated sleep areas.
Check under the beddings, behind the toys, water bowl, and food dish. Your hamster’s hideout is also an excellent place to look, especially if you’re dealing with a relatively new hamster that’s yet to acclimate to the new environment.
If you establish that your hamster isn’t in the cage, it’s safe to expand your search.
Check out, How To Tell if a Hamster Is Pregnant
2. Searching Close to the Cage
When expanding your search, you need to think like a hamster. And since your little furball loves his exercise and adventure, chances are he’ll start exploring the environment surrounding the cage.
As a result, it would be wise to identify potential hiding places close to the cage and start your search from there. Ensure you check everywhere, keeping tabs on all the places you’ve checked.
Starting close to the cage will give you the peace of mind that you’ve not missed a spot in your pursuit of your tiny family member.
3. Checking Underneath Furniture
If you still haven’t found your furry buddy, then it’s best to check underneath furniture, more specifically in areas where your tiny hamster can easily fit. And as nocturnal creatures, hamsters will prefer hiding in dark spaces underneath or behind furniture.
You can start with the larger pieces of furniture as you move to the smaller ones. As a rule, you should spend more time checking underneath or behind large furniture to ensure you’ve done a thorough job.
Either way, don’t leave any stone, well, furniture, unturned as you search for your hamster. Be extra careful when moving large sets of furniture to avoid injuring, or even worse, smashing your furry buddy.
Read Why Is My Hamster Biting the Cage
4. Checking Inside Drawers and Cabinets
Hamsters are cheeky and pretty clever, meaning they can end up anywhere they deem as fit hiding spaces. So don’t be too surprised to find your tiny friend comfortably tucked inside your drawers or cabinets, especially if they’re easily accessible.
Although hamsters might find it hard to access cabinets, they can be drawn to check out potential hiding spaces. And if your hamster is the extra curious type, he might end up stuck in clothes or items stored inside cabinets.
Jane Jansen of Maple Grove, Minnesota, reported finding her neighbor’s missing hamster Harold nesting in the chewed-out hem of one of her dresses in her cupboard. She found out the hard way after visiting the opera and discovering her dress hem hanging jaggedly from the back!
Another famous escape hamster from Upstate New York called Lovona escaped her owners several times, and most often, they would find her in the son’s closet. She would be camping out behind the drawer with her food stash for safekeeping.
Remember to be careful when handling drawers and cabinets, as moving too aggressively can leave your hamster scared.
5. Searching Inside Boxes
Mary Anne Fiore of Simi Valley, California, posted a truly amusing story in an article on Frugal Upstate online.
After an exhausting class search, this first-grade teacher found their escape artist and hamster Bobo. They found Bobo in the non-fiction animal book bin, much to the delight of her class!
Like Bobo, your hamster will be inclined to hide inside a shallow box, especially one with several items that can act as hiding places. Even better for your hamster, he might find something chewable inside household boxes.
As a rule, you should avoid throwing out any boxes when searching for your hamster. But if you must, be sure to remove all items (one by one) to confirm your little hiding specialist isn’t inside.
When checking items inside a box, start from the top, moving downwards. By avoiding abrupt movements, you’ll make your hamster feel a lot safer as you continue with the rescue mission.
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6. Checking Inside Backpacks or Purses
Backpacks and purses are other attractive areas for hamsters to hide. Although the chances of a hamster getting inside a bag or a purse are pretty slim, they might find their way inside if left open. Your hamster might even opt to hide inside if the bags are dark enough.
Some scents like apple and strawberry might lure your hamster into purses, so be on the lookout for that.
When checking inside bags, it’s highly advisable to avoid aggressive hand movements as they can scare or injure your hamster. Check all bags and handbags that your hamster can access. Pay special attention to bags with side pockets.
7. Checking Behind Appliances and Fixtures
Hamsters naturally love quiet places and are almost sure to avoid noisy locations, meaning your humming fridge won’t be his idea of a perfect hideout.
But don’t rule out checking behind large appliances like washing machines and dryers, as nothing is impossible with your hamster.
Check behind all appliances including behind your TV stand. If you have exhausted all your fixtures, you’re yet to find your hamster; check out all areas from the living room to bedrooms and even the kitchen.
Read How To Take Care of a Hamster
8. Looking Inside Holes or Crevices
It’s no secret that your furry friend fancies creeping and hiding inside tiny, often dark spaces. So if your house has some crevices, it might help to check them just to be sure.
Hamsters leave nothing to chance when it comes to safety and will definitely run for cover in large enough holes or crevices that they deem safe.
Using a flashlight, check inside the crevices and holes in your cabinets, closets, and walls in the hopes of spotting your hamster. Remember to move stealthily as any type of noise might scare your hamster, making the rescue mission even harder!
Read How Long Can You Leave a Hamster Alone?
Tips for Tracking Your Hamster
Sometimes even after a long-spirited search, you may not be successful in finding your furry companion. If nothing gives, then it’s time to get a bit creative and bring out the big guns by doing as follows:
Try Night Searches
As nocturnal creatures, it’s only natural that your hamster will come to life after the sun goes down. Nighttime is, therefore, the best time to kickstart your search.
But if your hamster escapes during the day, it’s crucial to start the investigation as soon as possible without allowing too much time to elapse.
If your daytime search is unsuccessful, you can redo the search at night when your hamster is most active. Chances are they might come out to play or attempt to get back to their cage if lost.
Lure With Seeds
Don’t be fooled by their tiny sizes, as hamsters will rarely turn down the chance to gobble up treats. As such, you can try luring your hamster with seeds to see if they’ll budge.
You can put a small amount of seed on the floor of every room and wait and see if your hamster comes out for a nibble. Unless you have rats or other rodents in the house, your hamster will probably eat up the seeds if hungry.
You’ll have a rough idea of where to start your search if your hamster eats up the seeds. In the US, seeds like sunflower abundant in South Dakota, pumpkin, flaxseed, and sesame seeds in Texas or Oklahoma are frequently used to lure hamsters.
Track Your Hamster’s Movements
You can learn more about your hamster’s hiding place by tracking his footsteps. A great way to identify your hamster’s location is by pouring a small amount of white powder or flour on the floor, especially in suspected hiding areas at night.
Your hamster will leave pawprints in those areas, but if no prints can be detected, then you can move on to other areas.
Turn Off All Lights and Listen for Movement
By turning off the lights and maintaining total silence, you’ll be well placed to hear your hamster move, and they most likely will due to nocturnality.
Consider switching off the lights in a designated search area. You can also place tinfoil or any light noise-making material on the floor to help amplify your tiny buddy’s movements.
Read Why Is My Hamster Squeaking?
How to Catch Your Hamster
Leave Cage Open and Hope for a Return
Your hamster is already used to their home. So, after all the exploring is done, your hamster might opt to get back home for a daytime nap. It’s best to place fresh food and water and leave the cage open.
If you leave the cage open and hope your hamster returns, it’ll be best to check the cage regularly, preferably after every 20 minutes or so, so that you can close it immediately when he gets back.
You can use treats to lure your hamster into a trap and capture him. For your trap to succeed, it’s best to place yummy treats like raisins in the middle of a not-so-shallow pan or a bucket to lure your hamster.
Once your furry companion gets to the treats, he might not be able to climb out of the pan or bucket, allowing you to capture and take him back to his cage.
Read Why Is My Hamster Breathing Fast?
What to Avoid When Looking for a Lost Hamster
Avoid Getting Worked Up
An unsuccessful search can leave you worked up. The good news is that hamsters are experts at hiding since, after all, they’re used to all sorts of threats in the world. Instead of getting frustrated and throwing everything around, take some time to recollect and strategize.
Don’t Leave Doors and Windows Open
Your hamster can easily climb up your curtain blinds and get outside if you leave windows open. Once outside, the dynamics change as you might never see your hamster again, and even worse, the threat of predators comes into play.
Some states in the USA experience icy winters, increasing the chances of hibernation and even death if your hamster gets outside.
Therefore, you should close all your doors and windows immediately when you notice your furry buddy is missing.
Walk Carefully and Notify Other Members
Since your furry ball of cuteness is tiny, you might end up stepping on them accidentally, especially when they’ve taken a nap.
As a rule, you should walk carefully and avoid moving heavy furniture aggressively lest you end up injuring or even killing your escaped hamster.
It would be best to inform other family members to walk with care and precision to help find your furry family companion.
Related Hamster articles:
- What Does Hamster Eat?
- How Long Can a Hamster Go Without Water?
- Why Is My Hamster Biting Me
- How To Tame a Hamster
- Can You Get Rabies From a Hamster Bite?
- How To Cremate a Hamster?
Finding a lost hamster can be frustrating, especially if nothing seems to give. However, if you remain patient and keep a positive attitude, chances are you’ll find your little furball sooner rather than later.
Remember to start your search inside the cage before moving to surrounding areas. The best way to catch an escaped hamster is to think like one. This process involves checking inside areas that can act as ideal hiding places. Think behind or under furniture, inside closets and drawers, inside large enough crevices, and even behind large appliances.
Good luck finding your hamster!
My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more