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Old 11-04-2005, 09:12 AM  
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Location: Scotland UK
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Default How to recapture an escaped hamster

This is a question that is asked frequently, an indication perhaps of how good hamsters are at escaping from their enclosure. It is important to capture them quickly as hamsters can be very destructive when allowed to roam free. They can chew through just about anything - furniture, doors, curtains and electrical wiring are common targets. All of these can seriously injure your hamster in the process or potentially cause it to pass over the Rainbow Bridge a lot quicker.

If you lose your hamster outdoors, the chances of recapture are not good. and anyway what were you doing outdoors anyway - there are far too many germs and dangers outside, but an indoor escapee can often be recaptured using the following simple method.

Get a deep, high-sided bucket or basin. It has to be at least 12 inches (30cm) deep but ideally 18 inches deep to ensure that the hamster can't jump out. Syrian hamsters are incredibly persistent and can scramble their way out of surprisingly deep containers. Dwarf hamsters can also jump but their smaller size means that they don't get quite so much height. Although Roborovski with their proportionately longer back to front legs have been known to jump as far as 3 feet in the air!

Make a "staircase" up to the edge of the container using books or magazines.

Remember ONLY on the outside of the container!

Place a trail of food up the staircase and leave a liberal amount in the bottom of the container. Something with a pungent aroma will help to attract the hamster from its hidey-hole. Apple slices, fresh green vegetables such as broccoli, or boiled/scrambled egg are favourites.

Leave the "trap" in the room that the hamster escaped from, unless you suspect that it has taken up residence in another part of the house or flat. The best time to lay the trap is in the evening, with the lights off. With any luck, you will find the hamster in the bottom of the container in the morning.

If you are not sure which room they have taken up residence in you may need a trap in a few rooms. Make sure to close all doors when moving between rooms during the day. On hard surfaces you can sprinkle some flour on the floor. I leave a saucer with a few grapes and sunflower seeds out in each room and check them frequently - they can't resist Cucumber or some other water bearing fruit or vegetable works just as well and provide enough moisture to keep them going for a few days.

Remember to shore up the hamster's cage before returning its occupant. Watch out for loose bars and clip-style wire doors that can be forced open by a strong pair of hamster teeth.
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