Hamster security has been pretty lax in my house these few weeks and all four of my dwarf hamsters have taken turns escaping their cages. Fortunately, I’ve been able to find them every single time. Still, it’s an awful feeling when you look in the cage and realize your pet isn’t there.
The following tips will hopefully help you find your lost hamster.
1. If you haven’t already, shut all doors and windows
It’s much harder to find a hamster once it escapes your room or house, so make sure you shut all the doors and windows in the room that the hamster cage is in. You should also shut the doors to the other rooms if you can so that if the hamster has already gone to another room, it would be trapped in whichever room it is in. You don’t want your hamster traveling between rooms while you’re searching for it.
If gaps under your doors are large enough, seal them up or block with books.
Always start searching in the room where the cage is in before moving on to other rooms.
2. Search in your hamster’s regular hiding places
Hamsters seem to like hiding in the same place they’ve hidden in before so check their favorite hiding spots first. These hiding spots are usually dark, narrow, and perfect for a hamster.
If you have no idea where to search first, try these:
- Under sofas and couches
- Behind or under bookshelves
- Inside cupboards and wardrobes
- Inside drawers*** – not in the drawer itself but the space behind it. Flaxseed the winter white hamster went in there once and I only found her because she was making scratchy noises!
- Under the bed
- Behind or under any other bulky furniture (they can squeeze in from really tiny gaps or holes, especially it’s a dwarf hamster)
- Anything else that has a hole or gap big enough for a hamster to fit in (even if the gap was too small at first, a hamster might be able to chew a big enough entrance for itself)
*** When searching for your hamster, be careful not to push back drawers, cupboard doors, etc too quickly or with too much force in case your hamster is behind it!
3. Look for food or poop trails
The past few times my hamsters have escaped, they’ve always left trails of sunflower seed husks. Look for half-eaten food, seed husks, and even hamster poop. These are signs that your hamster may be nearby.
If you have anything edible in the room or if your hamster food/treats are accessible, your hamster may have also gotten to it and stashed the food away. Below are photos of stashes of sunflower seeds that I found on different occasions when looking for my runaway hamsters!
4. Set a bucket trap in each room
If you are still unable to find your lost hamster, set bucket traps in all of the rooms in your house. Bucket traps are a popular way to get back missing hamsters. This is what you’ll need to make a single bucket trap (repeat for as many rooms as you need):
- Get a bucket that is tall enough so that your hamster will not be able to escape from it (but not so tall that it will injure a hamster falling into it)
- Lay a towel or other cloth in the bucket to cushion your hamster’s fall
- Put treats in the bucket as a lure for the hamster. Use treats such as peanut butter on a cracker or other treats that you can think of that have a strong smell. You want your hamster to be able to find it.
- You’ll also want to put a hamster water bottle in it if you have a bottle stand, or a piece of lettuce if you don’t. This is to make sure that your hamster has enough water to drink and not die from thirst.
- Make a ladder going up from the floor to the bucket. You can use any existing hamster toys, stack books and other stuff to make one, or make it out of popsicle sticks.
- Put a sunflower seed or other treat on each step leading to the top of the ladder. Hopefully your hamster will follow the trail to the top and fall in the bucket.
- Again, remember to keep doors and windows closed so your hamster doesn’t go from one room to another. Check your bucket regularly to see if your hamster has fallen in.
5. Other ways to find a lost hamster
Here’s a video by AnthonyAnimals101 with a few other great methods of finding your missing hamster
The longest I spent searching was eight hours but others have been able to find their hamsters after days or even weeks. So don’t give up if your hamster is missing and I hope you’ll be able to find it soon.