Hamsters are such fragile, adorable little creatures. They may not be as cuddly as other housepets, but they’re definitely fun to watch and be around.
However, panic and worry can easily creep in once you find out they’re missing. If that does happen, try to breathe and compose yourself. There are many ways to find a lost hamster, after all.
Losing your pet hamster inside the house can be troublesome, especially if you have a vast space to deal with. Since most of these adorable rodents only grow around two to four inches, it can take a while to look for them through every nook and corner.
Luckily, it doesn’t always have to be a wild goose chase. There are many viable ways to ease up your search mission.
Before you start, however, we recommend closing all doors and windows that lead outside your house. That way, you can ensure your hamster stays indoors while you try to find them.
Once that’s done, you can make use of the following tips to make your search easier:
As silly as it sounds, hamsters can easily hide in a pile of wood shavings. Before you start panicking and losing your head looking around the house, try to dig a little in their bedding first.
If they have any playhouses inside their cage, you can check if they’re just tucked in a corner. Hamsters are small and crafty creatures, so it’s not surprising to lose sight of them within the decorations.
Hamsters are nocturnal creatures, so don’t be surprised if you see them active at night. That said, you can use this to your advantage by tracking them at night.
While it may be trickier due to the lack of lighting, you can always use a flashlight to see through corners better. You have a better chance of finding them through chewing and rustling sounds at night rather than while they’re sleeping and hiding during the day.
If you’ve confirmed they’re out of the cage, be sure to check behind and under every piece of furniture and appliance. Since hamsters love to hide, it’s worth a try to grab a flashlight and get on the floor.
Remember to be cautious when moving furniture and appliances around to check, as you might accidentally squash them.
It’s in the nature of hamsters to burrow themselves wherever they find interest. As such, it’s a good idea to scan through your bags, purses, and backpacks to be safe.
They can also make themselves comfy inside your shoes, so give every pair a check as well.
Try to open every drawer, closet, and cupboard. These places are big enough for hamsters to hide in and are always worth a look at.
You can also listen to any clanking if they find themselves in drawers with plates and utensils. Hamsters are quite capable climbers, so don’t rule these spots out.
Sometimes it’s easy to find holes and openings in the walls of your house, especially if it’s an old one. Try to inspect these locations thoroughly by listening close and calling out to your hamster.
If you can find an angle to check the inside while using a flashlight, go ahead and do so. Alternatively, you can lure out your hamster if you suspect they’re hiding there.
We’ll discuss the different ways to draw them out in a bit.
One of the best tried and tested methods of tracking hamsters is by using flour, cornstarch, or cornmeal. Since these rodents are quite clever and cunning, your best bet is to be crafty yourself.
To do this:
- Find strategic locations, such as doorways, closets, drawers, and wall holes in your house.
- Sprinkle some flour or cornmeal on these spots. If your hamsters pass these locations, you’ll be able to find where they’re hiding by checking and tracking their footprints.
- Hamsters are attracted to the smell of flour and cornmeal, but you can upgrade the bait by adding some sunflower seeds.
If you don’t mind playing a bit more of the espionage role, you can use aluminum foil to track a hamster’s location. The sound they’ll make once they step on the foil will help lead you to their hiding spot.
To do this:
- Grab a roll of aluminum foil from your kitchen.
- Lay out wide sheets of it under furniture and appliances, inside closets and drawers, and beside walls with holes. You don’t have to go all out with the floor, especially the center parts.
- Try to stay put for a few minutes and listen closely to any rustling footsteps. Follow the sound as soon as you hear it.
Sometimes the curiosity of hamsters gets the best of them, or they feel shy, causing them to hide in dark and hard-to-reach places. While they may be tough to look for sometimes, don’t panic and lose hope.
Luckily, there are many effective ways to lure these furballs from hiding. Here’s to name a few:
Hamsters love eating seeds and are attracted to their smell. You can use any of the following to lure them out of hiding:
- Sunflower seeds
- Corn kernels
- Pumpkin seeds
- Flax seeds
- Wheat seeds
- Chia seeds
- Sesame seeds
Alternatively, you can also use nuts if you don’t have any seeds. Just be careful not to go overboard with the amount since it can easily make them overweight.
The best way to lure them with seeds or nuts is by placing a pre-counted pile of them in each room. You’ll know where they’re hiding if you notice a stack has less amount.
An effective way of luring hamsters out is by making a DIY bucket trap. Just be sure to check it every 30 minutes or an hour to check if they got caught.
To do this:
- Drill two holes at the top and bottom ends of a plastic bottle.
- Stick a straw right through the plastic bottle’s holes.
- Get a bucket tall enough for your hamster to get stuck in.
- Place a cushion or pile of bedding at the bottom of the bucket. It’s also wise to put some food and water source in case they get stuck there for several hours.
- Rub a spread of peanut butter or any treat with a strong scent around the plastic bottle.
- Place the straw on top of the bucket. Make sure that you can easily rotate the bottle around the bucket.
- Create a ramp or pile of books leading slightly above the bucket.
- Add a trail of seeds or nuts on the ramp to lead your hamster to the bucket.
Sometimes hamsters take off to simply explore beyond the constraints of their cages. That said, there’s a chance they’ll return, especially if there’s food waiting for them.
On top of the tracking efforts you’re doing, you can keep their cage open in case they come back willingly. Try to be on standby if this happens, so you can close the cage’s door once they’re in.
Hamsters love taking shelter in solitary confinement, especially if they feel threatened or anxious. If you try to think like a hamster, their hiding spots start to make sense, given how they respond to a certain feeling or emotion.
These are the common locations they escape to:
- Inside bags and shoes
- Under blankets, cushions, and pillows
- Inside drawers and closets
- Behind appliances and furniture
- Inside rat holes
It’s understandable how people can overreact to a missing hamster situation. However, it’s best to stay collected and think of ways to find them instead.
If you’re scared that they’re lost, think of how they feel as well. The sooner you can follow methods of tracking them, the better.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.