Hamsters are adorable little pets that are relatively low maintenance and straightforward to keep in the United States of America. However, hamster behaviors can sometimes be confusing, like constant escape attempts. If your hamster does the same, surely you want to know why.
Your hamster is trying to escape as it doesn’t feel comfortable in its home. Perhaps the cage is too small for your hamster, or your hamster feels unsafe. Hamsters may also behave this way when harassed by people or other animals, hence their escape attempts.
Keep reading to learn more about why hamsters may try to escape their cages. I’ll also explore what you can do to prevent your hamster from behaving this way. Hopefully, you’ll have better insight into your pet hamster and why it does the things it does.
Is It Normal for Hamsters To Try and Escape?
Hamsters can live happily in cages. However, they sometimes display odd behaviors, like climbing or digging through their cages, as if they’re trying to escape. If your hamster also does the same, you may wonder if it’s trying to escape from its cage and if such behaviors are considered normal.
It’s normal for hamsters to try and escape their enclosures. If your hamster does that, it’s nothing to worry about. But if your hamster is constantly trying to escape, it may be unhappy in its environment. Thus, it would help change the cage to improve your hamster’s living conditions.
Why Do Hamsters Try To Escape?
While escape attempts are normal hamster behavior, hamsters sometimes try to escape for other reasons—like when they’re unhappy.
Here are some reasons why hamsters try to escape:
- They’re uncomfortable in their home.
- They’re scared.
- They get pestered by children or pets.
- There’s not enough room in the cage.
- They lack stimulation in their home.
The following discusses why your hamster may want to escape its cage.
Your Hamster Finds Its Home Uncomfortable
If your hamster isn’t comfortable in its cage, it’ll likely try to escape. Hamsters need a space to hide away in the cage along with appropriate bedding, food, and water. If your hamster doesn’t receive the necessary amenities, it won’t settle down in the cage.
When the hamster is unhappy, it’ll keep trying to escape until it feels comfortable.
Your Hamster May Be Scared
Hamsters scare easily. They’re shy animals that’ll avoid contact with most other animals and living things. When hamsters get scared, they either try to run or hide.
If your hamster doesn’t feel like it can hide in its home, it’ll try to run away from the perceived danger by attempting to escape from its cage.
Read Difference Between a Hamster and a Gerbil
Kids or Other Pets at Home May Be Pestering Your Hamster
If you have children or pets in your home, they’ll likely be intrigued by your hamster. Curious kids may poke and prod at the hamster. Your other pets may cause the hamster distress when they scratch the cage.
Your kids and pets may end up frightening your hamster, causing it to want to escape the cage.
Read Why Is My Hamster Squeaking?
The Hamster Cage Is Too Small
While hamsters are tiny, they require enough space to move about freely and explore their environment. One hamster should be placed in a tank of at least 15 gallons (68.19 L) in capacity. Although, it’s generally better to provide the answer with as much space to safely explore as possible.
If your master tank is too small, your hamster will try to explore outside of its cage.
Your Hamster Lacks Stimulation in Its Home
Hamsters, much like all animals, require stimulation in their environment. If your hamster doesn’t get adequate stimulation, it’ll become bored or even distressed and escape.
You can add tunnels, hideouts, and wheels to your hamster’s cage to keep it stimulated and occupied.
Also read, How Big Should a Hamster Cage Be?
Tips on How To Prevent Your Hamster From Escaping
Now that you know that it’s perfectly normal for hamsters to try and escape and why hamsters might be motivated to break free, it’s time to address what you can do to prevent your hamster from trying to flee.
You can stop your hamster from trying to escape by doing the following:
- Place your hamster in a larger cage.
- Fill the cage with toys and accessories.
- Keep children and pets away from your hamster.
- Let your hamster out of the cage.
- Place food and water in the cage.
Place Your Hamster in a Larger Cage
One way to stop your hamster from trying to escape is by placing the canister in a larger cage. Hamsters generally live better when they have more space to live around.
Therefore, increasing the size of the hamster cage will allow your hamster to live happily, thus reducing its desire to escape.
Fill the Cage With Toys and Accessories
Hamsters need stimulation to enjoy their home. You should provide your hamster with toys and accessories to allow it to play and explore.
Your hamster should also have a hamster hideout where it can feel safe and keep away from the outside world. Hamster wheels and tubing are also effective ways of providing your hamster with additional entertainment.
Keep Children and Pets Away From Your Hamster
When pets and children are constantly trying to play or engage with a hamster, your hamster will try to escape to find some peace. You can reduce your hamster’s desire to escape by reducing interaction between the children, pets, and your hamster. By doing so, your hamster will get to enjoy peace in its home.
To ensure your hamster lives in a peaceful environment, place the hamster cage in a quiet room that small children and pets can’t access.
Read Why Is My Hamster Scared of Me?
Let Your Hamster Out of the Cage
Letting your hamster out of the cage is a fantastic way of letting it explore. It’ll help if you let your hamster out of its cage at least once a week for a few minutes to a few hours.
Let your hamster out of its cage in a room with closed doors and windows and free from pets or small children.
Allowing your hamster to roam around once a week is similar to walking a dog. It’s the time that your hamster gets to explore and experience new items and sensations that stimulate good physical and mental health.
Also, once your hamster has had the time to roam and explore, it’ll likely lose its desire to escape.
Place Food and Water in the Cage
Hamsters will try to venture out of their home, searching for food or water. Therefore, by keeping your hamster’s food and water supply topped up, you can prevent your hamster from trying to escape its cage.
Finding out which food your hamster enjoys most will also entice it to remain at home and deter it from trying to leave.
Read How Long Can a Hamster Go Without Water?
Will a Hamster Come Back After It Escapes?
At this point in the article, you’re well aware of why hamsters try to escape and how you can entice your hamster into not trying to leave. However, I’ve yet to discuss what happens when your hamster gets free from its cage and whether or not it’ll return after breaking free.
A hamster will likely come back to its cage after it escapes. Hamsters are creatures of habit that’ll routinely return to safe places like their cage. However, not all hamsters will return after escaping, and hamsters uncomfortable in their cages will likely not return after escaping.
If your hamster has escaped and you can’t locate it, leave the hamster cage door open and place some of its favorite food inside. It’ll likely return at some stage, so you should periodically check to see if any food has been eaten or whether your pet has returned to safety.
How Long Can an Escaped Hamster Survive?
When your hamster has broken free from its cage, it may go through stressful events. Once escaped, your hamster will be vulnerable to other animals, the outdoors, and other risks. So how long can your hamster manage on its own after it has escaped from its cage?
An escaped hamster can survive for 3 or 4 days. The hamster may die after 4 days of starvation and dehydration. If the hamster could find food, water, and shelter (like within your walls), chances are it would live for much longer. Hamsters can live for up to two years in the wild.
How long your hamster survives after escaping depends on whether or not it can find food, water, and shelter. Without any of these, it won’t survive long.
Hamsters are also on the menu for several predators, including cats, dogs, snakes, lizards, and birds. An escaped hamster could be prey to any of these familiar animals, which would undoubtedly shorten its lifespan.
As hamsters don’t last very long after escaping in most cases, it’s essential that you keep your hamster in a secure cage. It’s also essential that you’re careful when opening and closing the cage. Fundamentally, your hamster must be happy in its home. Therefore, do your best to keep your hamster happy.
Where Do Escaped Hamsters Go?
If your hamster has managed to escape from its cage and is now free in your house, it can be difficult to find it again. Even if you keep all of the doors and windows closed, it may still take quite a while before you see your beloved pet. But where do hamsters go after escaping their cage?
Escaped hamsters go in search of a place to hide. Hamsters will likely seek a small space underneath furniture, inside shoes, empty boxes, and under appliances. They may also seek out warm places, like inside heaters and underneath blankets or bedding.
An escaped hamster may also find a way through a small gap in your wall or around a door frame. Hamsters are capable of chewing through surfaces to create burrows to hide in. If your hamster has escaped, it could still be inside your home, hiding inside your home walls.
Note that hamsters also tend to be attracted to bathrooms. They enjoy the pleasant aromas that come from perfumes and shampoos. Escaped hamsters may also venture into the basement, as they’re comfortable in the dark and are less likely to be bothered in an empty basement.
If your hamster has escaped, do check all of the small spaces, warm hideouts, and anywhere else you think your hamster could be hiding. If you can’t find the hamster after searching these locations, leave out food and water in the cage, and your pet might return.
Related Hamsters articles:
- Why Do Hamsters Eat Their Babies
- How To Clean Hamster Cage
- How To Take Care of a Hamster
- Why Did My Hamster Die?
- Why Is My Hamster Biting the Cage
Hamsters try to escape their cages for several reasons. They may feel uneasy, scared, or bored in their home. If your hamster is always trying to escape from its cage, you should find ways to discourage its escape attempts. You can do that by keeping it happy in its home.
Make sure your pets and children don’t bug the hamster. Also, make sure the cage isn’t too small for the hamster. Providing toys and cage accessories will also help entertain your hamster, keeping it happy.
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