Hamsters love to sneak around, especially after being locked up. So it's no surprise that they try to escape the safety of their cage from time to time. If you ever come home to find the cage empty, fear not. The great hamster escape can happen to anyone. You just have to be patient and persistent, and you will have your pet back at home, safe and sound.
Part 1 of 3: Containing the Hamster
Step 1. Close all the doors
Before you can catch the hamster, you must limit its movements. Concentrate on blocking all exits to the outside, as it will be much more difficult to find him if he manages to get out of the house.
If you know which room your pet is in, close all the doors in that room
Step 2. Block any openings or exits
Hamsters can climb stairs or sneak into small spaces quickly. Use towels to cover the space between the floor and the doors to seal off all the rooms in your house.
- You should also seal any air vents or any cracks in the floor with duct tape to ensure that your hamster cannot hide in these spaces.
- Before you start sealing everything, check the vents and other cracks with a flashlight to make sure your hamster isn't hiding there.
Step 3. Tell the people in the house that the hamster is lost
Let those who live with you know that your pet has run away so they can help you lock doors and other exits.
- If there are other pets or small children in the room, remove them so you can focus on finding the hamster.
- If you are concerned that your pets will hurt the hamster, such as a cat might, keep them in another room or have someone hold them.
Part 2 of 3: Finding the Hamster
Step 1. Take a good look at the cage and the places where your hamster usually hides
Sometimes these animals do not explore beyond the area around their cage and are easy to find. But it is also possible that there is a specific place where your pet likes to hide when he escapes. These areas are generally narrow, dark, and easily accessible. Some options are:
- inside boxes, such as tissue boxes or trash cans
- under sofas or beds
- behind or under the shelves
- inside cabinets and wardrobes
- inside the drawers of the kitchen and the dresser (if you are looking in the drawers, try not to close them with too much force in case it is behind the drawer)
- behind large furniture, such as a table, vase, or mirror resting on the floor
Step 2. Listen carefully to see if you hear any sounds of the animal scratching or chewing
Most hamsters gnaw on objects so they can hide inside or create a small burrow. Your pet could also fit into a hole up to 2.5 cm (1 inch) in diameter, so it might try to scratch or chew on objects or even create a crack in the wall. Turn off all noisemakers and lights in the room. Stay still and pay attention to the sounds of the animal chewing, scratching, or moving. This is one way to determine if your hamster is hiding there.
Step 3. Look for food debris and feces
Sometimes hamsters carry a bunch of sunflower seeds when they escape from their cage. Therefore, you can look for piles or traces of half-eaten sunflower seeds or husks in their usual hiding places. It may be a good idea to use a flashlight to check in dark and narrow places.
Your hamster may also relieve himself outside of his cage. Look for stacked or scattered feces, as they could lead you right to where your hamster is hiding
Part 3 of 3: Setting a Hamster Trap
Step 1. Use a sunflower seed path
If you know which room your runaway hamster is in and you've already sealed all the exits and hiding places, you can try luring it in with sunflower seeds.
- Create a path with ten sunflower seeds that reach the cage. Then, turn off all the lights in the room and keep quiet while you wait in a corner.
- Your hamster will be attracted to the seeds and will come out of its hiding place. Maybe go straight to his cage. However, it may take a while to show up, in which case you would have to be quiet for a while in the dark room.
- You can also sprinkle some flour on the floor, around the seed path. In this way, when the hamster approaches the food, you will be able to see a trail to its hiding place.
Step 2. Create a trap with a bucket
This is one of the most popular ways to catch a hamster. It is also a very simple trap to set up, since you only need a tall bucket, a towel, several boxes or books, and a handful of prizes.
- Take a tall plastic bucket and place it with the opening facing up. Inside, put the towel to give the animal a soft surface to land on when it falls into the trap.
- Place a handful of prizes in the bucket to use as bait. It can be a peanut butter cookie, a pile of sunflower seeds, or other treats that give off a strong, enticing scent for the hamster. You could also put a lettuce leaf or drinker inside the bucket so that it has something to drink once it falls into the trap.
- Create a ladder that leads to the bucket. Use a stack of books, Lego blocks, or several small boxes to create a ramp that your hamster can climb to the top of the bucket, where the prizes are, and fall inside.
- You can also place sunflower seeds or other treats on each rung of the ladder to make sure your pet reaches the top and falls into the bucket.
- Close the door to the room and check the bucket every so often to see if your hamster fell into the trap.
Step 3. Leave the cage door open overnight
Hamsters are nocturnal creatures, so the animal is most likely most active at night. If you spent all day searching for your pet without success, try putting some sunflower seeds in his cage and leaving the door open overnight. The hamster may return to the cage on its own and make itself comfortable there.