How To Capture An Escaped Hamster

Image of Hamster thinking of making a break for it from
Image of Hamster thinking of making a break for it from

You go to feed your hamster and suddenly stop short. Where is the little monster now? You poke through all of the bedding, but your beloved hamster is nowhere to be seen. You could panic or you could go about making plans to recapture your prodigal hamster. Take deep breaths - not only will your brain need the oxygen, but it will help you calm down.

Before You Set The Trap

Before you set up the hamster trap, you want to avoid hurting your loose hamster accidentally in the meantime. Here are some tips everyone in your family needs to do until the hamster is safely curled up in his cage again:

  • Shuffle your feet instead of walking normally, so you don't accidentally step on Hammy.
  • Make sure all the door inside your home firmly propped open. If you do have to open and close a door before Hammy is found, do it very slowly, in case Hammy is in a tight spot.
  • Get all chemicals, cleaning supplies, mousetraps or art supplies off of the floors and (if possible) all put away.
  • Check under all cushions and mattresses before sitting or lying down. Hamsters like to burrow in all kinds of cozy places.
  • If you have any terriers or cats that are free-roaming, either keep an eye on them or shut them up in a room where you are sure the hamster isn't.
  • Make everyone who comes into your home to follow these rules until Hammy is found.
  • Shut the windows.
  • Leave the cage door open - he might decide to come home on his own.

Setting The Trap

You will make a humane hamster trap with objects you most likely have hanging about the home. You will need:

  • a large bucket or Rubbermaid Tote at least two feet deep. Make sure the lid is OFF.
  • a tasty treat the hamster can't resist. Peanut butter on a cracker is recommended.
  • a thin layer of bedding using some from the hamster's cage
  • a way for the hamster to climb up the side of the bucket - it could be placing the bucket against a chair, leaning a long wooden plank or ruler on it, but some obvious path needs to be leaned against the bucket.

The aim is to lure the hamster into the bucket. A fall of a couple of feet will not hurt a full grown hamster. Once they are in, though, they will not be able to get out. They will look rather annoyed, though.

One of the best places to put the trap is the bathroom or kitchen closest to the room where the cage is normally kept in. Hamsters are always on the lookout for food - and water. Even a few droplets of water on a tile floor may attract your prodigal hamster.

The Waiting

Now comes the hardest part of recapturing your hamster - the waiting. Try to keep breathing deeply and keep your hopes up. The odds are good that your hamster is still in your home. Hamsters are nocturnal, so while you're worried throughout the day, he's probably found a place to nap. He will most likely go into the trap during the night, or the next night.

For more information about finding a lost hamster, check out this link. And good luck!

Film by c4h10

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Comments 76 comments

teddarling 9 years ago

Such a squirmy guy you have in the video. Of course that's a nice looking fellow that you have at the top there.

Thanks for the information and the video. I always thought they somehow got out through a door left open. Your video really opened my eyes.


Michele Engholm profile image

Michele Engholm 9 years ago from Hutchinson

Hey Rena, this one made me laugh....a while back we have a hamster we affectionately called the "bird rodent of alcatraz" She was a master of finding her way out of any cage. We finally have a system that keeps her contained. She's crazy!! She seems to mellowing some with age however : ) Now she's just called "Grandma"

RenaSherwood profile image

RenaSherwood 9 years ago Author

Thanks for the kind words. The film wasn't made by me, but I did have a golden hamster that could slip through bars like the dwarf hammy in the film. She had to be kept in a 20 gallon Rubbermaid Tote (with the lid off). Good luck with Grandma!

iloveshawnndjesse profile image

iloveshawnndjesse 8 years ago from nj

that is a very good stratigy, i will follow it if my hamsters ever get out!

Ana (on-uh) 8 years ago

that is a great way to capture a hammy. I am thinking of getting one and maye I shouldn't get one with bars. LOL

Tijo 8 years ago

I have bars! :O He hasn't gone out yet for a long long time and he gone out once but the cage door was open I think it wasn't shut tight enough because he likes to climb up on the door and i think he accidently got out at night. :? But he was found it elss than thirty minutes about in ten minutes! :D I am searching for ideas to find hamsters cuz my friends hamster is lost for a hole month I have a hole page full!!!! Thx for the help ;)

Tom ( Hammy) Escape Siberian Dwarf Hamstar 8 years ago


Paige 7 years ago

I am planning to get a hammy. the strategy probably won't work at my house though :( I have a cat that kills birds rats rabbits snakes. She would kill it if it got out:(

Nami 7 years ago

I'm SO sad - My dwarf hamster died yesterday. I painted a small thin block of wood for the grave'stone' and I put the squishy little hamster in a box. I buried her right outside my house. She was so twitchy and paranoid. She ran away from every sound not made by her. She was called Yuki, since it's jap for snow and it was snowing when I got her. I'm planning on getting another one on the first day of summer. -I hope I don't almost drop the box open outside again- Your 'hub' is very helpful. I'll be sure to use your advice if my next hamster gets out. I'm planning to name her/him Haku.

~ Nami Kohodo

janette 7 years ago

My hamster Oliver opened the cage door even though I closed it AND taped it.(he is a strong hamster) He escaped I think yesterday night. Today the cage door was opened and Oliver was no where to be seen. I searched for him everywhere but I can't find him. he has an injured leg and I am very worried. Is there an easy and a helpful way to capture Oliver?

ambi 7 years ago

i don't know how my hammie got out

it is a mystery as i always padlock my hammies cage.

also i was away on hols.


mads 7 years ago

once my hamster escaped her padlocked cage.i think my brother freed her though:(.we found her 30 min later ^_^ (thank goodness).

heather murphy 7 years ago

i'm planning to get a hampster soon and hope this advice will help!!

Kitkat 7 years ago

my hamster is missing and were trying this right now, the darn little thing!

dont sit on the couch 7 years ago

my name is answer

clara 7 years ago

I lost my hamster she's been gon for 1 day and i'm scared because my mom has rat poison in her closet.

Reid 7 years ago

My hamster is missing and ive got your traps all over my house

P.S. Good luck with grandma

mads 7 years ago

this morning I lost snowball (she got her name cuz she's 100 percent white). We found her chewing on the wii system cord. Good thing we found her before she zapped herself.

The Prodigal Hamster 7 years ago

Don't use words the meanings of which you don't know. Everyone seems to have missed the point of the parable of the prodigal son's return, or never have actually heard it at all. To refer to the prodigal son as having returned makes the word sound like it means missing, lost, or run-away. However, it is in fact that he has lost his way in the lord by being prodigal, not that he is prodigal by having lost his way in the lord. He is not prodigal because he left, he is prodigal because he wasted all his inheritance.

Prodigal (adj.): Rashly or wastefully extravagant

Syn: profligate, squandering, lavish, munificent, overgenerous.

yo 7 years ago

my hamster escaped and my dog found it put it in his mouth emptyed it bak into the hamster cage wwithout harming it lol my dog is sik ands its an american bull dog terrier:)

SG 7 years ago

My hampster has escaped twice. The first time from the plastic ball -after that I always tape it-. The second time his wheel broke and he escaped by removing a plastic cap on the roof of the cage.

In both cases, he has entered openings in cabinets that were not obvious to us unless we see from the ground. We heard him in both cases. The first time I caught him around 4 AM after leaving him plenty of food all over the place. The second time I cut a cabinet wall and grab it.

Preventive measure: check in your kitchen, study room, or living room for any small hole in cabinets left by the builder.

Tools I used: drill, thin flash light, wire hanger (to hang the flash light and enter it through the hole), and iPhone (to check with camera if hampster was inside a compartment).

kate 7 years ago

my hamster has got out of the cageb and he is no werte to be seen

kate louise price 7 years ago

oh no i have not found my hamster

RMS 7 years ago

two hamsters escaped three days ago, found your atricle today and set the trap at 5pm. First one was caught at 7 pm and waiting for #2 to show up. Used peanutbutter and popcorn, works great. Thanks

Bobbie  7 years ago

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha what's she doin?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

liam 7 years ago

mine has opened the lid on the cage somehow and went behind the washer but when we went to get him he ran behind all the drawers and now we cant get him any help on this please?

send it to my email:

Connor 7 years ago

My hamster has been out for 3 hours... his wheel was off after cleaning his cage. its at that top in a special place so he fell off the cage probably off my dresser too. I need help but i will try!

holly 7 years ago

my hamster only just ecaped and it went behind loads of stuff in a cabinet and guess wot thanks to my rabbit [who died on the 12th september 2009] his life was saved because all her food was on the floor so the hamster crept in and it is now safe in his cage

chase 11 7 years ago

Ok anybody not just holly but if you are silent put the cage on the floor and put food in it...sooner or later your hamster will come out...if he/she does not come back when you wake up the next day...leave the cage on the floor and start looking if your hamster does not come back in 3 to 5 days you should look harder with every thing off and have some one help you and if you have any comments or questions come to reena sherwood or me im here every day gigity thanks! :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) i like smiles oh wait a touge :p teeth :B!

Danielle 7 years ago

That's Freakin Funny Cuz My Hamsters Name Really Is Hammy

velly 7 years ago

Ough, now I know how my hamster escape.

Ron 7 years ago

2 hampsters escaped from the cage in the basement, not sure if they are male and female.Need to find out before they produce babies and have house full of basement.

Adrian 6 years ago

Don't give up hope if your hamster escapes. Our hamster escaped last week when one of the pieces in his Rotastack cage came loose. I looked everywhere, had cupboards emptied, looked behind everything and under things with a torch. I left food out in every room that wasn't touched, and had a builder lift up a floorboard in the kitchen. Not a sight nor a sound of him. Then, after 5 days, by which time we considered him dead, we found him strolling round the kitchen floor, looking perfectly fine. We'll never know where he was, or how he survived, but he did!

jessi 6 years ago

my hamster is lost so im following these rules cause i love hervery deeply

Haiz 6 years ago

erm i cant find my hamster anywhere but i think i need to set a hamster trap!@@

Ana 6 years ago

One of my hamsters escaped last night- Schrodinger was all curled up asleep on his own and Salvador was no where to be found. I got up this morning and the external wheel on my Rotastak cage had came off. I read the advice and left the cage on the floor with an easy way back in and sure enough little Salvador came home after a 12 hour adventure.

Great advice. Thanks a lot.

Charissa 6 years ago

Me shine blue laser on hamster eye!

barthoraimundo profile image

barthoraimundo 6 years ago from Brazil, São Paulo, Praia Grande

Hahaha, very smart this bug.

cocoescaper 6 years ago

My hamster Coco have escaped 10 times. She escaped again last night. I know where she is. She is in a hole of my fireplace. My fireplace is fixed means no chimney. I could hear her but she seems couldn't get out from the hole this time. Should I can 911 or animal rescue? Please advice me!


emma 6 years ago

my poor wee Norman is stuck in a hole under our bath :( I've left some tubes from his cage inside the hole for him to come out but I'm so worried he's stuck there or has gone down further! I'm going to leave the cage on the floor and hope for the best :(

Molly 6 years ago

My hamster got loose while I was on vacation. HELP!

realtalker profile image

realtalker 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

Hilarious hub! My little hamster used to escape out the cage all the time! She was extremely sneaky I can tell you that much.

tiff 6 years ago

My sons hamster is currently stuck down a drainedge hole under the kitchen sink..its about a foot down and we've tried everything (including little hamster lifts on string) to get her out but nothing is working.. : ( My sons are going to be devastated! Poor IZZY! Next step is using a saw to cut out half a kitchen cupboard! Wish us luck!!!

ash :) 6 years ago

well i had a hamster he is still on the run never saw him for a few month so got another 1 then she escaped caught her just b4 xmas looked in the cage on xmass day to see lost of little babies aawww .

But lightning is still on the run gona try the bucket trap :) wish me luck got more hamsters than i bargened for lol what to do with them all :(

Becca 6 years ago

My poor dead hamster hammy would always escape. And we would find him in our steam vacuum in our closet. Well one day he got out and he wasn't there we looked everyware but we couldn't find him. So we waited and waited and two hours later we hear footsteps in the walls! And ten minutes later found him in the heat radiator. And one random tip (this isn't how he got out but still.) critter trail cages may look cool - I have three - but they break VERY easy so I recommend habitrail for a cage. I just got a critter trail x for my b-day in october and five parts have already broken off. THANK GOD FOR DUCT-TAPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : -D

Becca 6 years ago

And also, HAMSTER POTTYS REALLY WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BOB 6 years ago


BOB 6 years ago


BOB 6 years ago

HAMMEY IS MY FRIST HAMSTERS I GAT HIM FOR MY BIRTHDAY HE IS FAT THAT'S WHY I THINK HE IS CUTE HE PUT FOOD IN THE SIDE OF HIS CHEKS SO HE LOOK SO CUTE I LOVE HAMEY SO MUCH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BOB 6 years ago

HAMMEY IS MY FRIST HAMSTERS I GAT HIM FOR MY BIRTHDAY HE IS FAT THAT'S WHY I THINK HE IS CUTE HE PUT FOOD IN THE SIDE OF HIS CHEKS SO HE LOOK SO CUTE I LOVE HAMEY SO MUCH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vanessa 5 years ago

I think my hammy went into the store room.Too many things to open the whole think.I put the things as instructed but it still did not come out.Please help!2 days had past.I'm worried its dying

moses 5 years ago

my hamster escaped and im looking everywhere and its been gone for three days!!!

hannah-marie 5 years ago

hi i need help, my hamster is under my bath, and is down a hole but he cant climb out of it cos its too high and i cant get my arm down there cos the hole has two pipes coming up from the ground, was wondering if anyone knows of someone who will come out and get him

hannah-marie 5 years ago

just left a comment but forgot to leave email,

Ann 5 years ago

Hannah-Marie, can you get a piece of rope or something similar down the hole for him to climb up?

Georgia  5 years ago


john 5 years ago

i miss him so much. he got lost because i didn't have the tubes on tight enough. so he pushed the tubes out and got out. i cry when i think about him. so idn what to do

melina 5 years ago

my hamster ran away 9-9-11 and his name is buddy and i had a cage AND HE GOT OUT Of the plastice part at the top. and i still didn't find him and we checked all over the house but we still cant find my uncle got a 2 foot bucket and got a long PIECE

of wood and

got some peanut butter and put it on it and he got a cracker and more peanut butter and put it on the wood and put a soft towl and put it in the bucket and then you what a night or 2 and then you look in the morning and its back. so where ever it sleeps like ina room then its going to be in that room.YOUR WELCOME

Hvhahdghg 5 years ago

no answers

ahgdhgshghsgcxbnyuer 5 years ago

i don't like this website i hate it.

vcetdcs 5 years ago

hate it

hanakkkkhjkashdjdhajsashkhshjshhhhaka kalsjkasjdhs 5 years ago


hamzah 5 years ago

love it too much

gcdg 5 years ago

chang it i hate it'

Lily 5 years ago

My hamster escaped yeasturday... I saw her under the bed and ran from me and lost her again! I can't even sleep or think knowing my hamster is somewhere stuck or dead.. my gosh! did the trap tip then the cage tip PRAYING it comes out soon.. I pray she isn't dead somewhere

Fionn 5 years ago

i hope my hamster is alive i lost her on saturday we will set a trap but ii have kittens and thay might eat her i miss her my first one died becasuse of my friends cat and she died befre her first birthday and this new one is lost and her birthday is soon why me im so unlucky i hope she is alive she is a syrian i miss ruby

nadaih 5 years ago

lost one of my hamsters it behind my wall cause of a stupid crack and got scared and it right by my dryer michenan ???

what to do :(

Em 5 years ago

Dwarf hamsters shouldn't be kept in cages like the one shown in that video! and my hamster escaped because the doors catch hadn't quite fixed, i moved everything out (lots of boxes) and then he comes waddling out so i just put the top of his cage over him and slowly got him back into his cage because he was scared and would have bitten me!... luckily we always shut the door so if any of our pets escape they cant get out of the room - lowers the rooms and dangers !

NikNik 5 years ago

My hamster escaped about 2 weeks ago. I have searched everywhere for her. I placed food around the room but none was touched except in the closet. I removed all food except the food in the closet, cause i hope she stays in there. I have 2 cats and 2 dogs but she's safe if she's in the closet. the food is only touched every few days tho and i've had no luck getting her into any kind of container. stress out about this :/

lkjhdaksjhf 5 years ago

i need help!!!! i don't know if my hammy is indoors, or outdoors!! in my backyard, i have holes that lead to other backyards! what do i do? is peanut butter with crackers safe?

Sarah 5 years ago

I've had many, many hamsters. And many, many hamster escapes. And I have to say, this article was hilarious to me for some reason. I can just imagine them, running around the house like they own the place. Silly little guys, lol.

isobella 5 years ago

This is not the first time I have lost my hamster, I have lost her about 3 times or so before, I have no idea how she got out of her cage, I put 3 pegs on her cage door and somehow she has managed to get it open witch I really think is impossible because I couldn't pull it open, before this happened she stuffed her pouches full of food so she wont be needing any so she might go for ages, the thing I am worried about is that our heating in out house has broken and it is really cold at the minute, she has got a cold and has been sniffing and squeaking a lot recently, I need to take her to the vets to see what's happening with her but I can do that until I find her, I must catch her and fast or she will get even more sick, I hope this work's, I love my hamster to piece's....... :(

Jo 4 years ago

It worked! Spent an unsuccessful week upstairs ... Last night I woke up at 4am due to a recent operation and went down stairs... Heard something in the dining room ... Saw something running so closed the kitchen odours with the trap in there.. 1 hour later she appeared! Yeah!

Taryn 4 years ago

My brother is the reason my hamster is hiding... He put her on the floor of the bathroom and she ran into a hole no bigger than this _____________.... she is sideways and at the VERY BACK of the hole a good foot or two... will try the peanut butter and cracker trick and hope for the best....

Martin 4 years ago

my hamster badger was stuck in a stereo speaker thanks to you recommending to put a cracker as bait hes now out after 2 hrs haha wow but yea really helped i put the cracker and he came fast everything else he didn't care for but the cracker he went crazy for thank you so much .

Mikayla 4 years ago

Help. My sis has 3 week old hamsters, and has only had them for 2 days. They got loose. We have cats. We've set up traps.

How long until we should stop searching? :'(

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