How Long Can an Escaped Hamster Survive?  

How long can an escaped hamster survive

How long can an escaped hamster survive? Nobody wants their beloved hamster to escape, but sometimes the cage is left open accidentally or your hamster disappears when being petted. This can be very upsetting, and the big question is:  

How long can an escaped hamster survive?

When your hamster escapes in your home, you can expect your hamster to survive 3-5 days. However, the more treats there are in your home, the shorter this time will be.  

How can I make sure my escaped hamster survives as long as possible? 

Secure the area at once:  

  1. Pets   

Keep any other pets separate if you can. If you know for sure which room your hamster is in, then this is quite straight forward, if you don’t then try to keep your other pets in a room you think your hamster is least likely to be in.  

  1. Close windows and doors  

Make sure there are no obvious ways your hamster can escape any further afield. Once your hamster leaves your home, chances of its survival are minimal. It will be too hard for you to find your hamster and there will be too many predators for your hamster.  

  1. Check for any holes and cracks your hamster can further escape through.  

Any small holes in walls can be an escape route for your hamster. On top of that, your hamster has sharp teeth and is capable of creating holes in soft walls too.  

Give your hamster a chance to survive:  

  1. Put out water  

You can put water in different rooms to make sure your pet has access to this at all times. Try to put it somewhere quiet rather than in the middle of the room. Your hamster needs to feel safe to go to it and drink.   

Water is super important, and you don’t want your hammy to dehydrate!  

  1. Put food in different rooms  

You can also put food in different rooms. This way you can check where your hamster has eaten. This will be at night as hamsters are nocturnal. Make sure you keep the doors of all rooms closed at night while your hamster is at large. That way you might be able to find out which room your hamster is in by checking which food has been eaten.  

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What are the immediate dangers my hamster faces when they escape?  

Homes are super dangerous for hamsters, that’s why you want to find your hamster as quickly as possible.  

Some of the risks your escaped hamster might face in your home are:  

  1. Pets  

Other pets in your home might find your hamster and try to play with it or chase it. Cats won’t be good for your hamster, both because they will hunt it but also because they too are nocturnal.   

Dogs would be less of a concern compared to cats, however they can be too rough with your hamster or chase it which will lead to stress and possibly accidents. 

  1. Stairs  

Stairs are massive from your hamster’s perspective and where they don’t rely on their eye side half as much as their nose, they won’t be able to see the stairs as we do. They will not be able to see the depth and can easily tumble down the stairs.   

The height for a little hamster is often too much.   

  1. Other heights  

There are many other heights dangerous for your escaped hamster.   

  • book shelfs (great for hiding)  
  • window seals  
  • Curtains   
  • Cupboards  

  1. Escape routes to outside  

If your hamster finds a gap in a wall, door or window, your hamster will be gone for good. And since they are great climbers, if you have curtains, top windows should be closed too.  

  1. Being stepped on  

Hamsters are quite quick, but their Eyesite is not great. So, if there is a hamster on the loose, you really want to make sure there’s no running in the house and all steps are made carefully, especially at night.  

  1. Water (buckets, paint, etc.)  

While hamsters can swim, they are not very good at it. Naturally they live in dry places and swimming is stressful for them. Also, if they can’t get out of the water, they will get tired and drown. Other substances than water can be too heavy to even swim in for a small period of time and unless you scoop out your hammy at once, chances of survival are slim.  

  1. Electrical cables  

Hamsters have sharp teeth and love gnawing. Cables will be dangerous for your hammy if there is current present.   

  1. Electrical appliances  

You might decide to put a wash on, not knowing your hamster has made a new home in your wash basket. Or you might put the hoover on, not knowing your hammy thought the hoover tube looked like a great place to explore.  

Make sure you check everything before you either use it or move it.  

How long can your escaped hamster survive? 

If you consider all the steps above and secure the area as well as possible, then your hamster should be able to survive between 3 to 5 days.  

The biggest dangers are accidents at this stage as you will have made sure food and water are accessible. 

The next thing you need to do is find your escaped hamster as quick as possible. 

By now you will have secured the area and have looked in all the obvious places. If you haven’t found hammy yet, then try nighttime. 

As hamsters are nocturnal your biggest chance is listening out at night. This might mean laying down on the floor so you can hear any rummaging or running at floor level. 

Your hammy won’t be sitting still all night, wondering what to do next. Most likely its busy setting up a new home in a spot it finds more suitable than its cage. There’s even a chance your hammy will empty out it’s bedding from the cage and move it to its new home.  

So, it’s worth keeping an eye on the cage and see if anything has gone missing or has been moved.  

After all the easiest way to catch your escaped hamster is by closing the cage door when it’s on one of its errands! 

Tip: place the cage on the floor where its easily accessible by your hamster. 

If you can’t hear your hamster moving around at all and have no clue where it might be hiding, then a trap might be your only choice.  

Of course, you don’t want to hurt your pet, so you will need to be clever about the trap you are setting up.  

There are different ways people set up the trap. 

The first one is by placing a tasty treat under a bowl, bucket or container while the container is slightly lifted on one side. 

You will need to set up a mechanism, so the container falls once your hamster is in. This could be by balancing the treat on a stick which will fall if the treat is taken. 

Downside of this trap is that it might be hard to balance right and once your hamster is in the container, you might find it hard to catch your hammy. You also want to make sure the container is not too heavy and hurt your hamster when it closes. 

Using a clear container is highly recommended. 

Another possibility is using a container deep enough your hamster can’t climb out off and creating a set of stairs for your hamster to climb. 

The stairs would need to be sturdy, and you will need to place treats on the stairs to lure your hamster up the stairs. 

As the bucket needs to be quite high, chances are you’re your hamster is full up before it reaches the top of the stairs. So, choose small, tasty treats and use them sparingly. 

The top of the stairs will need to be balancing on the edge so that your hamster will fall into the container when it tries to get the treat on top. 

Care needs to be taken that your hamster lands softly. Therefore, it’s important to put a thick layer of soft material at the bottom. 

Alternatively, a humane mousetrap works well on hamsters as well. You can buy them cheaply on amazon (my favorite mousetrap I keep at home), so you have it ready when needed.   

You will want to check it often, so your hamster pet does not get trapped in it for too long. 

I personally check it several times throughout the night just to make sure I can put Biscuit back in her cage as soon as possible.  

Here are some things to consider: 

How do I avoid my hamster from escaping?  

  1. Always keep the door of the room your hamster is in closed. If your hamster escapes, you can at least be pretty sure your hamster is in this room.  
  1. Check the cage door before you leave the room. Sometimes a cage door is left slightly open or not completely clipped in. This means that it can become open without you noticing it and your hamster can go missing.  
  1. Block any holes in the floors and walls and only keep unreachable windows open. Your hamster can escape through very small openings and sometimes they can get stuck. You might not be able to find your hamster and your hamster might not be able to get out of the hole.  
  1.  Hang long curtains over the curtain pole on the top during the day so your hamster can’t get to them and climb them. This way you can safely have a top window open. 

Where would a hamster go if it escaped? 

Hamsters are good at hiding and are naturally nervous and scared. If they don’t know the room they will be scared and will hide in a dark and quiet spot if they can. While you might think to check the floor space, remember that hamsters are excellent climbers too. Any surfaces which are not smooth could be conquered by your hamster, think wicket backets, curtains and furniture covered with material.  

This means you have a large area to search, and you will need to be careful where you step or sit down. Don’t just open and close draws or doors either as you can trap your hamster.  

You will want to look at dark and quiet places preferably somewhere they can bury themselves or hide well.  

Start with scouring the floor space. Under beds, draws and wardrobes. The more items are on the floor, the more hiding places your hamster can find.  

Then move to draws, inside wardrobes, on bookshelves etc.  

Clothes are soft and great for burying as well. 

As your hamster is nocturnal, there is a great chance your hamster is cuddled up somewhere soft and fluffy during the day which can make it harder to find her. 

At night she will explore the area to find food, though she might want to stick to more covered areas. So, while it would be easier to spot your hamster eating in the middle of the room, she might be too scared to come out into the open.  

Therefore, you might want to place the food in a more covered area where you can still reach easily get to your hamster to put her back in her cage! Will a hamster come back if it escapes? 

Sometimes your hamster feels safest in their cage and will be happy to go back to safety if only they’d knew how to get there.  

So, if your hamster has escaped it’s worth putting their cage on the floor with the door wide open. Your hamster relies on their smell and should be able to find their cage should they want to return.  

Of course, there is a chance your hamster has found a new place where it wants to set up home. A clear sign for this will be if bedding goes missing from the cage! This means your hamster is nesting elsewhere. 

Can hamsters survive long falls? 

Hamsters don’t normally survive long falls. Even when they survive and seem ok there is a big chance of internal damage. It’s important that you get your hamster checked by a veterinarian should she fall from great height. This is also the reason why it’s important to secure the area when your hamster escapes, especially when you know it’s still in the same room. Stairs might not seem height to us, but for your little furry friend, stairs can be very dangerous. And where hamsters are great climbers, curtains and non-smooth surfaces in the room can lift your hamster to great heights and therefore danger.  

How do you lure a hamster out of hiding? 

Your hamster will be most active at night, so that makes it a great time to try to lure your hamster out of hiding. The two things that might help to lure your hamster out of hiding are food, especially snacks and their cage. 

How easy this will be depending on several factors. 

  • Do you have a strong bond with your hamster? 
  • How hungry is your hamster? 
  • Does your hamster want to get caught? 
  • Is your hamster active now or fast asleep? 
  • Is your hamster still in the room or has it moved further afield? 

If you have a strong bond with your hamster and you handle and pet it often, then it might be enough to sit in the room holding out their favorite snack and softly calling their name or talking to them. There is a good chance that your hamster finds the temptation too much and comes right over.  

Your hamster will get hungry at some point. However, there might be many places in the house to find food. As they have sharp teeth they can easily chew through boxes and bags. And as they don’t need much food they can survive quite easily. However, if your hamster is in a room without any food available, then your hamster will start looking for both food and water. And while you want to make sure your hamster has access to this to survive, you don’t want to give too much unless you can catch your hamster while eating.  

Instead, you want to lure your hamster with their favorite snack and be on standby to catch your little friend and bring him to safety. 

If your hamster is setting up home somewhere else, then it might be harder to catch your hamster especially if you have been through this before. You can try to lure your hamster out, but if this is unsuccessful then you could put some food out and quietly watch where your hamster goes after eating. You might be able to pick up the whole new nesting spot and transfer it to your hamster’s cage. Especially when the new nest has been created on clothes for example. 

There is far more chance of luring your hamster out of its hiding place at night as they are more likely to sleep or hide during the day. Start when your hamster is normally active in the evening and try to lure him over with their favorite snacks. 

Lastly it will be hard to lure your hamster out if its hiding place if you don’t know where in the house he’s hiding. As hamsters are nervous and careful animals, they won’t come out when there is lots of walking around. So, if you’re trying to find your hamster over several rooms, then secure all rooms and put food in all of them.  

Then choose the room you think is most likely to hold your hamster and start there with setting out tasty snacks and listen out for movement, scratching or noises your hamster makes. If you were not successful, check all the other rooms and see where the food has been touched. You can scan this room during the day or try to lure out your hamster again that night. 

How long does it take for a lost hamster to show up? 

That really depends on how easy it is for your hamster to find a secure nesting place and how easy it is to secure food and drink. Hamsters are quite noisy so you might be able to find your hammie just by being quiet and listening out for any noises.  

A hamster can survive for 3-5 days if no accidents happen and often you will find your hamster well before that time. If you follow the steps in this post, you should be able to find your hamster relatively quickly. 

Can hamsters squeeze under doors? 

Yes, hamsters will be able to squeeze under most doors and escape this way. So if your hamster is a flight risk, then make sure you close off the gap under the door as well. Same goes for when you are looking for your escaped hamster and you don’t know which room it’s hiding in. If your hamster can roam the house freely at night, the chances of finding him are much smaller. So fill those gaps under the doors at night!

What smell attracts hamsters? 

Hamsters have an excellent sense of smell which is to make up for their poor eyesight and anything tasty will attract them. Their favorite foods for sure will. If you are not sure what your hamster likes, then peanut butter will do the trick!  

So, if you want to lure your escaped hamster towards you, then peanut butter is a great choice! 

How can I find my hamster that escaped? 

The easiest way to find your escaped hamster is to listen out at night. Hamsters are relatively noisy little creatures, and you might be able to find them relatively easy. Otherwise, you can put food in every room after securing the room, then check where food is missing. That way you can at least pinpoint your hamster to one room. You can also carefully check all dark corners and hiding places, starting on floor level, then slowly working up. Anywhere small, hidden, secure, dark and quiet will be a great hiding spot. This includes between the pillows of the couch! 

How to catch a runaway hamster?

The best way to catch a runaway hamster is by luring it into either their cage or a hamster friendly trap. This could be an upturned (light) bowl with food underneath and a way to drop the bowl, a bucket with a step system or a hamster friendly trap you buy on I have used both and preferred to use the hamster trap which is very similar to a mouse friendly trap because there is less chance of hurting your hamster. 

What happens if your hamster escapes? 

When your hamster escapes, it will try to find a secure place to hide straight away. As hamsters have many natural predators, they will look for a small dark space where they can hide while they smell and listen out for any dangers. When darkness falls, they will feel more secure and they will try to secure food and find items to make their new nest softer and more safe.  

Do hamsters miss their owners? 

Where hamsters are solitary by nature, you’d expect they don’t miss their owners. However, they can create strong bonds with their owners especially is if the latter spends a lot of time with them, petting and handling it. As hamsters get to know your scent, they will recognize you easily and might show excitement when you talk to them or open their cage to pet them. Having a strong bond can help you find your escaped hamster as it’s more likely to come to you.

Do hamsters know their name?  

Yes, a hamster can learn to know their name and sometimes even respond to it. While they are little creatures, hamsters are intelligent beings and if you talk to your hamster often and repeatedly use their name, they can learn it and might even come when you call them. This won’t happen overnight and will take a lot of consistent effort. Don’t get discouraged if your hamster doesn’t respond to your calling, as not all hamsters will learn their name or respond to it.  

Can a hamster love you? 

Yes, a hamster can love you just as much as you love your hamster. In order to create a strong bond, you will need to spend a lot of time with your hamster. Pet and handle your hamster often and talk to him whenever you are near the cage. Smell is very important for your hamster, and he will come to recognize your scent.  


How long can an escaped hamster survive was the big question and hopefully you have found ways to find your hamster well within this timeframe. 

Of course, you want to avoid your hamster from escaping, but everyone who has a hamster pet knows its easily done. 

So don’t beat yourself up. Always be mindful that your hamster might try to escape – don’t take it personally- they just like to roam. 

And keep your room as hamster proof as you can so that when there is an escape attempt, it will be short and brief.  

In the worst-case scenario, follow the steps in this post and hopefully you will be reunited with your escaped hamster real soon. 

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Image of an escaped hamster, question is, how long can an escaped hamster survive?