It’s probably not a good sign that you’re looking for “how long can a lost hamster survive.” But, if it helps, your hamster might survive for a month.
They are probably hiding because they are sleeping, stressed, or afraid of another pet.
I’ll tell you more reasons why they may be hiding and how to make them return.
Table of Contents
- Hamsters can survive for three to four days without water or without food.
- Your hamster may have escaped because they are shy, curious, or stressed.
- You can set up traps to have them return.
Why Do Hamsters Get Lost?
Hamsters are excellent escape artists. They love escaping from their cages. But most of the time, when domesticated hamsters seem to be lost, they are simply hiding.
There are many reasons common hamsters, wild-born and captive-bred hamsters may hide from their owners.
Regardless of these reasons, so many hamsters get lost because they’re shy and curious animals.
As exploratory animals, their curiosity can make them want to explore the nooks and crannies of their environment.
Lost hamsters sometimes may also be hiding to sleep.
Stress can be another factor responsible for hamsters’ escape from their cage. Too much sound and light can be stressful for them.
If one of your hamsters is paired up with another aggressive type such as a Syrian hamster, it could be scared off and this could cause an escape.
Make sure you pair your hamsters equally to prevent bullying.
The breed is another factor that could be responsible for an escape from the cage. Syrian hamsters, European hamsters, Dwarf hamsters, Chinese hamsters, and Siberian hamsters all have different behaviors.
Before acquiring a hamster, be sure you will be able to cope with the level of activity exhibited by the breed you’re getting.
When these little friends get lost, the next worry that arises is about their survival. Keep reading to find out how long they can survive in isolation.
READ MORE: Can Hamsters Get Lonely?
How Long Can a Lost Hamster Survive?
The answer to the question, “how long can a lost hamster survive”, depends on several factors, such as predation risk, availability of food and water, and environmental conditions such as temperature.
But they can survive for up to a month. There have been cases where pet hamster owners have reported to have seen their hamster return after 3–4 weeks.
You shouldn’t give up if your hamster has been lost for days or weeks. Who knows? They could still return even if they’ve been lost for more than a month.
The more comfortable your pet hamster is with their hiding place, the longer it might take to have them return. For example, access to food wherever your pet is hiding might make it more difficult to have them return.
This probably also explains why they might have left in the first place.
How Long Can a Hamster Survive Without Food?
Without food, a hamster can survive up to four days. Hamsters are not big eaters and can go a few days without eating anything.
Also, they are skilled at hiding portions of their food in corners. Hiding things is indeed a part of their instinct, which is seen in how they also love to hide.
Pet hamsters are known to hide food in their cheek pouches for a few days (1).
How Long Can Hamsters Live Without Water?
Hamsters can live up to 3–4 days without water. The outcome depends on the environment, temperature, and your hamster’s diet.
Now that you’ve discovered the chances of survival of your lost hamster, let’s talk about how to get these hiding cuties back.
Finding a Lost Hamster – 3 Tips
I’ve got some tips and tricks for you if you’re seeking to get your lost hamster back again. Here are some tips that you can apply:
1. Watching Over Their Cage
Most of the time, lost hamsters tend to return home on their own. One way to hasten this is to leave their cage open with a supply of fresh food such as apple pieces.
You might have to stay up late at night to close the hamster cage as soon as your hamster settles in.
2. Setting up a Bucket Trap
Setting up bucket traps is a great method for finding lost hamsters.
Place a thick towel at the bottom of the bucket and add some of their favorite snacks in a food bowl, such as cheese, peanut butter, apple slices, etc.
You can use a stack of books or some wood to make a staircase. If the food items in the bucket are irresistible enough, your hamster will be tempted to jump into the bucket and will be trapped inside.
3. Consider Using a Humane Trap
Consider this option as a last resort only. The most common trap used is a humane mouse trap.
You could bait this trap with peanut butter. The only challenge with this is that the trap malfunctions sometimes and it could injure your pet when it does.
Watch this video if you want to learn how to make a bucket trap.
1. Where do hamsters go when they escape?
A hamster will naturally go somewhere cool, dark, and secure after escaping. They will normally hide somewhere they think they will be free from disturbance. Try checking beneath the bed, couch, or even inside the fridge.
2. What can I do to prevent my hamster from escaping?
Try using an aquarium tank and putting a mesh lid over it with narrow bars.
Panicking over the question, “how long can a lost hamster survive,” is awful for a pet parent.
Now you can feel relieved again, knowing that your hamster may still return. And you can increase the chances of their return by following my simple tips.
Try them and tell me how they went in the comments below. I really hope you succeed!
1. Miedel EL, Hankenson FC. Chapter 5 – Biology and Diseases of Hamsters [Internet]. Fox JG, Anderson LC, Otto GM, Pritchett-Corning KR, Whary MT, editors. ScienceDirect. Boston: Academic Press; 2015 [cited 2022 Nov 22]. p. 209–45. Available from: https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/B9780124095274000055?token=8FCB43101C8102C5BA58CDEA333C2C01D5ABABFDBC4CABFFB15E72C8F3B0B35DAF5AF12602C100F2E229ED3911019B12&originRegion=eu-west-1&originCreation=20221015023156
My name is Ben Roberts, and I absolutely love animals. So, naturally, I love writing about them too! As far as my animals, I have a Pit-bull, a Beagle-lab mix, a Chihuahua, and one old cat. Each one of them provides me with a new adventure every day. And the best part is they’re all best friends. Well, except the cat when he gets a little annoyed.
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