Capturing An Escaped Hamster
Hamsters can come to harm or even suffer a fatal accident if they escape from their cage, so should a hamster escape it is vital to capture it and return it to the safety of its cage as soon as possible.
Escaped hamsters often favour dark, secluded places to seek refuge and this can lead to an escaped hamster finding its way inside furniture, under floorboards and even into walls. One escaped hamster had 2.5 year "adventure" out of his cage before finally being found living in the family's sofa alive and well. Even more surprising was the fact that the family had moved house twice since the hamster had escaped!
However, not all hamsters are so lucky - some have been known to have become trapped under floorboards or behind walls, unable to be located. But becoming trapped is not the only danger as hamsters like to gnaw and electric cables present an appealing object on which to practice their teething skills and it is not only the hamster that can suffer from these electric gnawings - one escaped hamster chewed through an electric cable and set fire to the house!
Hamsters can also climb onto furniture and then fall, escape outside through open doors or air/heating vents, become crushed whilst squeezing through small gaps, eat poisonous house plants and much more.
Therefore it is important for both the hamster and its owner, that every endeavour is made to keep the hamster safe and secure. Any cage should be checked for security before being used to house a hamster and when playing with a hamster outside the cage it should always be supervised and never be left alone.
Should a hamster escape and not easily be found, however, take the steps below to build a humane hamster trap.
- If it is unlikely that the hamster has got out of the room in which its is cage located, close all doors so that it is confined to that room.
- Place a deep bucket in the room and place some books of varying sizes up against the bucket so as to build a series of steps up to the top of the bucket that the hamster can climb.
- Place plenty of tissue paper in the bucket to provide a soft landing.
- Place some food (preferably something like slices of apple which the hamster will be able to smell) in the bottom of the bucket, and place individual pieces of hamster food on the steps. Don't place too much food on the steps that the hamster will eat it and not investigate further, a couple of grains on a couple of steps should be enough to encourage the hamster to climb the steps and investigate further.
- Leave overnight. If the hamster could have wandered into other rooms, then place traps in several rooms and leave overnight.
When the hamster becomes active at night, it should follow the food trail up the steps and smell the food in the bucket, leading it to fall into the bucket as it investigates. Once the hamster has landed in the bucket it will be unable to get out and will be ready to be returned safely to its cage in the morning.
If the hamster is not captured on the first night, then it may be necessary to leave the trap for several nights, until the escaped hamster is captured.