It can be very upsetting when your little friend escapes but try not to panic, there are several steps you can take to maximise your chances of finding them quickly. It’s best to start these steps as quickly as you can, waiting and doing nothing isn’t a good idea if you want to recapture them safely.
Do A Thorough Search Of The House
• Start in the room the hamster’s cage is in and work outwards one room at a time.
• Look under cabinets, drawers, shelves and bookcases, don’t forget to look inside, behind, and under everything.
• Look in boxes and draws, shoes, purses, backpacks and bags.
• Check under chairs/sofas and beds for any holes the hamster could have climbed inside.
• Search under fridges, cookers, washing machines and other appliances. Again, look for holes the hamster could have got into.
• Check anywhere warm and dark, like the room the water heater is in.
Whilst you are searching, make a note of any holes in the floors or walls they could have got into.
Finding If They Are Hiding Anywhere
• Remember, your hamster will be most active at night so this is the best time to track them. Turn off the lights and sit quietly in a central location so you can hear any noises, have a torch (flashlight) handy.
• Place the cage on the floor with a ramp leading up to the door (you can use CD/ DVD cases or books to construct this)
• Put tin foil on the floor with a small pile of food and water in a jam jar lid/bowl in the middle. Do this in every room close to the wall, your hamster may be frightened and they tend not to want to come too far out in the open and often follow the walls when moving around. It helps to put out strong smelling food like cheese to attract them, but tie it down, any commotion with them pulling at it on the tin foil will alert you to their presence.
• Place flour on the floor next to any holes or places you can’t search, tiny footprints may give you a clue where they are hiding.
• If they like using their wheel place this close to the wall in the room they were last seen, some can’t resist taking it for a spin. Put a few pieces of bigger hamster food in the wheel, this will create a fairly loud noise as they rattle around.
Just for clarification, by tin foil I mean this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_foil
If You Spot Them
Move slowly and don’t make sudden jerky movements, you’ll frighten them back into where they are hiding. Have a fairly big sheet or towel handy, your hamster will likely be scared and moving very fast, throwing a sheet/towel over them may give you valuable seconds to recapture.
If Your Hamster Has Gotten Into The Wall
You will need to be patient and try and tempt him out using the foods mentioned above. If it is a male hamster a female can often encourage them to come out, if you don’t have one see if you can borrow one for the night from a friend or fellow forum member. If you suspect your hamster has fallen into the cavity and can’t get out you may need to call in the fire brigade/RSPCA (or local animal welfare organisation) who may need to remove fixtures and fittings in the house to get to them.
The Bucket/Bottle Trap
This method has been around for years but it’s quite effective, to construct this you will need:
• A bucket/plastic storage tub/cardboard box
• An empty plastic soft drink (soda) bottle
(Please note a ‘stunt’ hamster was used in these photos, not a real one)
Cut the top off the plastic bottle making a hamster sized hole. Use the sellotape to cover the sharp edges.
Make a ladder using books/CD/DVD cases as a ladder leading up to the box (this picture is a rough guide to how it should look, I’m sure you’ll be able to construct something better) Balance the bottle on the books and tub and place a piece of cheese in the end furthest away from the opening. You can also use peanut butter smeared on a cracker.
The hamster will smell the food and enter the bottle to grab it
It will tip the balance and fall into the box, unable to get out.
Hopefully your furry friend will not be away for too long, I hope some of these ideas will help
© Spacemonkey 2011