Owning a pet means spending a lot of time keeping him safe and secure. Yet even if you have a perfect cage set up and never leave your little hamster alone, you might walk in one day and see his cage empty, with no pet in sight. Many small pets are known to be escape artists through chewing, shrinking themselves, or pushing up a lid. Once you discover your animal has gone missing, don’t panic. But it is necessary to act quickly. These are the steps to follow if you want to know how to find a lost hamster.
Right away, scan the immediate area, particularly looking under and behind things. Hamsters, like so many other rodents, love to hide – they might do it instinctively, even if they secretly want to be found. He’ll probably stick close at first, considering he’s only ever experienced a small corner of the world. Check the surrounding furniture: in couches, behind TVs, or under blankets. Remember that your little guy likes to sleep during the day, so you may just find him snoozing in a comfy corner of the house.
As your eyes are scanning the scene, seeking out a hamster hidey-hole, you also want to use your ears and nose to find your animal. As his owner, you’ll know well the sounds he likes to make and you might listen your way into detecting him. Your nose will come into play at some point too, usually if he’s missing long enough to need a bathroom. A trail of hamster urine will lead you right to his new hideout.
Believe it or not, these small pets have big brains and can learn the sound of your voice and even their names. However, you should do a fast stealth search first, as you don’t want to spook him into running away. If you don’t get him in those first few minutes, try calling out or making playful noises. Pick up his favorite toy or spin his wheel, which he associates with playtime and fun. That could get him crawling back to find you (and his games).
Honestly, your hamster would rather be back in his snug, warm cage with a full feast laid out before him, and he’ll realize that pretty quickly once the taste of freedom wears off (we give him five minutes max). After all, you provide him with unlimited food, toys, and attention. He might not know which way to go, have trouble finding home, or not see the big hurry. Put his cage in an easy-to-spot area, but not too far from where you normally keep it so he doesn’t go back to his home and find it missing. Break out his absolute favorite snack and set it right in his cage where he can get at it. You can take a step back at this point and allow the treat to entice him in. Once he lumbers out for his dinner, you can scoop him back into his quarters for a nap. He’ll definitely need it.
The best thing you can do to keep your pet safe is to have good housing put together before you even bring him home. If you have a wire cage, the bars need to be really close together and checked frequently. All rodents can squeeze through tiny openings, a lot smaller than you would think. Avoid plastic and wooden cages altogether – too easy to chew through. Any connecting tubes for crawling should be secure and examined frequently for deficiencies. Lastly, check and recheck the lid every time you open the cage as that represents the easiest mode for escape.
One key note: while you try to locate your ham, keep other pets and children away from the area, to avoid harming him. It might be tempting to involve your dog, who probably can smell him, but, unless she’s properly trained, that will just as likely end badly as well. In some cases, you might not succeed right away. Long term, you can set up cameras on a night setting to try to catch your small pet sneaking around, which will hopefully lead you to his hiding spot.
- Best reptile pets: These are the 5 most affectionate reptiles you can welcome into your home
- Can you keep seahorses as pets in your home aquarium?
- How to tell when a hamster is sick or in pain: Look for these 4 signs and symptoms
- A simple guide to what to feed tadpoles in your aquarium
- What fish can live with bettas? These are your best bets