How to Find a Lost Hamster

If you need to know how to find a lost hamster, I hope this article will help.

how to find a lost hamster

Not exactly lost in this photo but Oatmeal the dwarf hamster was hiding in a packet of peanuts

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

Flaxseed the winter white hamster chewed up the bottle stand

Be sure to search even in the smallest gaps and pay special attention to any place that looks ‘chewed up’. The item in the photo is a plastic bottle stand but your hamster could chew up other furniture just as easily and hide inside/behind them.

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!

hidden hamster stash

Oatmeal the Russian dwarf hamster left this stash of sunflower seeds in a cupboard

Ichigo the Roborovski hamster left this stash behind some boxes

Ichigo the Roborovski hamster left this stash behind some boxes

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.

  • LiXuanzhe

    My golden dwarf hamster Alex is missing. Can he squeeze into my piamo

    • Sarah

      If there’s a gap that’s big enough for his head, he probably could. I hope you find him soon :O

      • mj

        thank you for the advice!! our dwarf hamster got loose in the house today and i set up the trap!!!!! again thank you!

  • Sarah

    She might run in it and hide but robos are too fast in my opinion for you to lift the paper tube without her running out immediately. If you have sunflower seeds or peanut, those might work better than a paper tube. If you’re really unable to catch her, try making a bucket trap like the one mentioned above, switch off all the lights and wait.

  • Jeni

    Thanks for the tips. My daughter’s new hamster Houdini’d out of her cage within 24 hours of bringing her home. We followed several of these tips, including setting bucket traps. My daughter finally heard her scratching around in the trap in her room early this morning, nearly 48 hours later. Upon returning the hamster to her cage, she promptly pointed out several corner holes through which she can easily fit. She can also climb the cage and “monkey bar” across the entire length of the roof with only her front paws. It’s no longer a surprise to us how she got out, and how searching for her was futile. We covered the offending holes with mesh and twist ties, but now we’re debating whether to take action on the 14-day guarantee from the pet store, and adopt a non-dwarf hamster instead…

  • hampsterman

    what if there in the wall?

  • hampster lover

    if u still can find your hamster another good way to find it is just to keep the cage open and keep some food in it so if wants to go In then it will and u also would want to cheak it every day. my hamster splinter is lost at this very moment while posting this and I am using all of these ideas

  • lauritasl

    Thanks for the advice. My son’s robo hamster got out when my 2 year old opened the cage and we didn’t even know how long he’d been gone. I made traps out of McDonald’s Halloween buckets with duplos as stairs (you use what you got?) Anyway I put one in the basement as an afterthought after leaving them all over the house and sure enough, in the morning there he was in the basement trap. I still can’t believe that worked and in one night too!

    • Sarah

      I’m so happy it helped find your son’s hamster! :)

  • susana pinedo

    HELP!!! my hamster went inside a gopher hole and i cant get him out?

    please help

  • katie

    Our cat knocked over our cage. It was sitting on top of a 4ft dresser.
    No bodies were found…
    we have looked everywhere.
    My girls are so heart broken.

    • Dwarf Hamster Blog

      I am so sorry to hear that

  • Xyloart

    I was freaking out because my little ham got out and wasn’t in his favorite spot. I set up four bucket traps and they worked in 45 minutes, no joke! I can’t thank you guys enough!

    • Dwarf Hamster Blog

      Glad you found him! And thanks for sharing that photo!

  • bailey

    my syrian hamster escaped’ i have done all these things but theres been no sighn of him anywhere. can anyone help plz. thank you .

  • Lucija

    I hope this will help me find Daisy… I checked on my hamsters last night before going to bed and they were both there but in the morning one of them was gone! I’ve used some of your methods and am waiting for her to show up. Also, I left some food in a few places and later I’ll check if its gone… Thank you for your advice!

  • Ammy

    I hope this helps me find my Chinese Hamsters… The pet store didn’t do the box up properly and when I opened the top, the bottom opened too and she fell out.

  • milou

    O my god… We woke up at 7 am this morning (in the Netherlands). We found out that our hamster, Vondel, had been escaped from his cage. We bought him nearly two weeks ago. Now,14 hours later, Vondel is still missing.. I think that he is hiding under our kitchen, hut thats impossible to check! Bleh.

    • Dwarf Hamster Blog

      Oh no, have you tried laying traps in the kitchen to lure him out?