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20 Places Hamsters Hide When They Escape

(Last Updated On: May 28, 2022)

When your hamster escapes from its enclosure, it’s natural to panic. But understanding where a hamster is most likely to hide can help you find and retrieve it.

Favored hiding places for hamsters are behind and inside furniture, behind skirting boards, in piles of clothing, and inside boxes.

Also, hamsters hide in shoes, blankets, and backpacks. Hamsters prefer enclosed spaces that are quiet, dark, and warm, with easy access to food and water.

Hamsters rarely come out from hiding unless they’re lured or caught. You can do this using its favorite treats or by setting up a hamster-safe bucket trap.

Where Do Hamsters Like To Hide When They Escape?

Escaped hamsters like to hide where it’s dark, quiet, and warm. Their preferred hiding spot should keep them safe from predators while providing access to food and water.

That’s not all, as hamsters like to have the following things in a hiding spot:

  • An enclosed spot. Hamsters feel safer in confined spaces, so they will find a hidden place that they can use as a base to search for food and water.
  • A space alongside a wall. Hamsters won’t live out in the open. Instead, they gravitate toward vertical walls where it’s safer and more secure.
  • Bedding. According to Nature Protocols, hamsters are natural burrowers, meaning they’ll search for materials they can nest into.

If a hamster can find all these things, it’ll live there until its owner locates it and returns it to its cage. Here’s where you’re most likely to find an escaped hamster:

1/ Under the Couch

If you keep your hamster in your living room, the first place to look for it is under the couch.

As mentioned, hamsters are drawn to dark spaces where they feel safe and secure. They may not stay under a couch for long, but that’s where they’ll go until they figure out where to go next.  

2/ Inside the Couch

Some hamsters prefer to chew their way into couches instead of hiding underneath them. Here, they have a better chance of remaining hidden from view and staying warm.

That being the case, you’ll likely find a horde of food and hear scratching when you sit on the sofa. This is your hamster making itself comfortable and settling down for the long haul.

3/ Under the Bed

People store many items under the bed, including clothes and boxes, which hamsters use as a secure nesting spot.

Hamsters like cluttered spaces, so the more you have under your bed, the most likely your hamster is to stay there. Also, this means your hamster will be harder to spot, so you’ll need to move all items carefully to locate them.

where would a hamster go if it escaped?

4/ Behind Furniture

Dressers, cupboards, and wardrobes aren’t usually flush to the wall, giving hamsters enough space behind them to hide and remain undetected.

It’s also difficult to reach hamsters that have made themselves home behind furniture, particularly if there isn’t a gap underneath them.

5/ Behind Skirting Boards

Small hamsters can get behind skirting boards if there’s a large enough gap.

Once they’re in the wall, they’re impossible to get out without removing the skirting board. You’ll hear your hamster scuttling around as if it’s within the walls, spending most of its time there.

6/ Drawers

Drawers make a warm and cozy hiding spot for hamsters. They’re also enclosed, keeping hamsters safe from harm.

Hamsters get into drawers by crawling into them through gaps behind the furniture. While hamsters aren’t the most natural climbers, they can climb if they have enough furniture to hold onto.

7/ Storage Boxes

Storage boxes, including cardboard ones, are a similar shape and size to enclosures, making hamsters feel safe and secure. Hamsters can chew through cardboard and plastic, so check all boxes.

8/ Piles of Clothes

Hamsters have an innate desire to burrow. Hamsters can burrow into clothing, satisfying their instincts and giving them a warm place to sleep. Hamsters are also drawn to drawers filled with clothes and will make themselves right at home underneath the pile.

Unfortunately, a hamster will likely chew your clothes to build its nest, destroying them in the process.

9/ Blankets

Like a pile of clothes, a blanket makes a warm and cozy nest that hamsters can burrow into. Like clothes, hamsters chew blankets to pieces to make a comfortable nest.

10/ Larder or Pantry

Hamsters are grazers, eating lots of food throughout the day and night. Wild hamsters create their burrows as close to a food source as possible so that they always have something to eat.

According to Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals, hamsters store grains in their underground burrows and eat every two hours.

They eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, making a larder or pantry the perfect hiding spot.

11/ Kitchen

In homes that don’t have a warm, dark larder or pantry, escaped hamsters will nestle themselves in a dark spot within the kitchen. This is likely to be behind cupboards or furniture up against the wall.

At night when it’s quiet, they’ll search for food, eating any crumbs they find. While this isn’t enough to sustain them in the long term, they will go further afield to find food if it is safe for them to do so.

12/ Cushions and Pillowcases

Cushions and pillowcases offer an enclosed space and provide warmth and darkness throughout the daylight hours. Many hamsters chew through them, though, destroying them.

13/ Behind Heaters

Radiators provide warmth, which is why hamsters like to get behind them to hide. If the area becomes too hot, your hamster will move somewhere cooler but may return now and then to warm back up.

14/ Bookcases

Bookcases are quiet, as they’re not too frequently used, and dark.

Be careful of your books, as your hamster will chew through them to use as nesting material and to shorten their ever-growing teeth. Your hamster can’t help this, as its gnawing instincts compel it.

15/ Shelves

Slightly less common, hamsters can find themselves escaping to shelves.

This is possible if their cages are on a raised platform, like a sideboard, and they can reach them and climb up. Hamsters can hurt themselves from significant heights and will need rescuing.

16/ Backpacks

Hamsters will get inside open bags and backpacks, and they may even chew through the fabric to get inside. This is even more likely if you’ve recently had food in your bag, as your hamster will be able to smell it.

17/ Shoes

Some hamsters make their way into shoes, curling up at the toes where it’s enclosed and safe.

Tame hamsters may even be drawn to their owners’ shoes because they smell like their unique pheromones. If your hamster has escaped, check inside your shoes before you slip them on.

18/ Appliances

Hamsters will hide behind appliances, such as a fridge or oven if it’s dark and quiet enough.

Annoyingly, hamsters are hard to reach in these areas, and it can be dangerous due to how often these appliances are used. They may also get inside appliances if there is a large enough entry point.

19/ Inside Tubes

This hiding spot is less likely if you don’t have tubes lying around. However, if you do, your hamster will nestle itself inside to find safety and warmth.

Hamsters find comfort and security from enclosed spaces, which a cardboard tube provides. Check inside any tubes you have before moving them or throwing them away.

20/ Plant Pots

Hamsters have a natural urge to dig. Not only does it provide them with mental stimulation, but they dig to create burrows. Hamsters enjoy digging through soil, so they’ll try to make a comfortable nest in any large plant pots they’re able to get access to.

How Do Hamsters Escape From Their Cages?

There are several methods by which hamsters escape. The easiest and most common way is for them to run away while you’re playing with them.

Hamsters jump from their owner’s hands and hide out of reach. Your hamster wants to explore its wider surroundings. It could also mean the cage is too small, and your hamster needs more space.

Hamsters can forcibly escape their cages. They do this by chewing through them, which is more common when made from wood or cardboard, or climbing their way out.

If you forget to put your hamster’s lid back on or leave the door open, your hamster can escape from its cage by using larger accessories to stand and climb on. Faulty cages are also to blame.

Will a Hamster Come Back if It Escapes?

Whether a hamster comes back or not depends on its personality.

As mentioned, hamsters that can find everything they need from a hiding spot may be happy enough to live out their days in their new home. Others enjoy exploring the wider environment and will eventually work their way back to their cages by chance.

Homes with predators and children are loud, hectic, and stressful. Hamsters that don’t feel safe will be more inclined to return to their cages. However, depending on where the cage is located, they’ll need a helping hand getting back into them.

Because hamsters are prey animals, most will tuck themselves away, refusing to come out. This means they won’t come back until their owners lay a trap. Some owners can catch their escaped hamsters while they wander around the house.

How To Lure a Hamster Out of Hiding

Hamsters are difficult to find and catch. If there’s no sign of a missing hamster, chances are your hamster has created a new home, and you’ll need to resort to using hamster-safe methods to lure it out.

There are several things you can use to do this:

  • Food. Hamsters won’t have access to as much food while in hiding, so leave out some of your hamster’s favorite food to tempt it out.
  • Water. Hamsters can only go a few days without water. Leave out a small bowl of water to prevent dehydration.
  • Toys. Leave out toys from your hamster’s enclosure. Not only will it want to play, but its unique scent will be all over them.

Be careful with leaving out food as your hamster will likely pouch it and take it back to its nest. Leave a pre-counted amount of food in the room you suspect your hamster is in and monitor how much of it disappears. Using a night cam will help you locate it.

These methods may not work with the most elusive hamsters. That being the case, you’ll need to make a humane trap.

how do hamsters escape from their cages?

Bucket Trap

Bucket traps are an effective way to catch a lost hamster.

To make one, gather the following:

  • A tall bucket
  • Thin boxes or books
  • Tasty, strong-smelling treats, such as peanut butter or fruit
  • Cucumber for hydration
  • A clean tea towel

Then follow these steps:

  1. Fold up the tea towel and put it in the bottom of the bucket. This will break your hamster’s fall once it enters the bucket.
  2. Put a slice of cucumber and your chosen treats on top of the tea towel.
  3. Place the boxes or books next to the bucket. The aim is to create steps that your hamster can climb.
  4. Check the bucket occasionally to see if your hamster has fallen in. This may take hours or even days.

Once you have your hamster, check for injuries. Even better, take it to a vet to ensure it’s in good health.

Use a Box or Net

If the bucket trap doesn’t work, you’ll need to try using a box or net instead.

A fishing net would be preferred because you can use the handle to stand further away from your hamster, giving you a greater chance of catching it.

However, if you don’t have one lying around, you could use a small box instead. Position it over your hamster and carefully bring it down, covering it completely. Slide a piece of paper or something similar underneath and move your hamster to its enclosure.

Humane Mouse Trap

A painless mouse trap means you don’t have to exert any physical energy catching your hamster. This method works well for hamsters who refuse to come out while you’re around.

A humane mouse trap won’t harm or kill your hamster. That’s because the trap has a gate at one end that’s triggered to fall once the hamster walks through it and steps on the lever.

To set one up, follow these steps:

  1. Position the trap around the spot where you think your hamster has escaped to.
  2. Place some tempting food inside the trap. Peanut butter or fresh fruits work well as they have a pleasant smell.
  3. Frequently check the trap to see whether your hamster has been caught.

Humane mouse traps are reusable, which is handy if your hamster ever decides to escape again.  

Don’t panic if your hamster escapes, as it won’t have gone far, but it may have tucked itself away. Thoroughly check the areas in your hamster’s room and listen out for any noises your hamster makes to try and locate it.