Gerbils & Hamsters/Escaped hamster


Hi Shelia
My hamster (Ebony) is an escape artist.  Normally when she escapes from her ball, I simply lower an empty Pringles can to the floor and tell her to go to bed, then she runs into the can, I pick her up, Pat her, put her back in her cage and give her either 1 raw baby carrot, or 2 raw peanuts in their shell. I usually get her within 12 hours.  She escaped Wednesday morning around 9:30.  She has burrowed through my drywall.  She came out last night, went up to my adult cat, who was sitting down.  They're good friends, Ebony thinks my cat is her mom.  Ebony must have been thirsty because she decided to drink out of my cat's water dish instead of going back into her cage where she has 2 water bowls.  I was sitting in the room with her, she probably knew that if she went into her cage than I would close the door.  She let me Pat her, but I'm physically disabled and am afraid of falling if I try to pick her up from the ground.  My dad brought a live trap over yesterday.  It's been baited with peanuts.  Both peanuts are still in there.  She was trapped in the live trap before.  I think I'm being out smarted!  Can you give me any ideas on how I can catch her, I live in an apartment, Ebony is the same size as a rat.  I'm worried that if she goes into another apartment that someone will think she's a rat and try to kill her, or she may find rat poison.

Hi Jinene

Sorry for the delay in responding.  Has Ebony turned up yet??? Has she made an appearance since you wrote? If she does turn up and you can pat her see if you can grab her by the scruff of the neck rather than trying to pick her up.  I know this isn't ideal and you need to be careful you don't damage her eyes in the process but this might be your best option.

Don't leave too much food out for her otherwise she will take it and stash it away.  Are peanuts her favourite foods?  Where is the trap?  Put it along the side of the room, rather than in the centre and perhaps put a tiny trail of nuts or seeds leading up to it.

I always worry when one of my hamsters escapes but fortunately they have always turned up. It is amazing how small a space they can squeeze themselves into.

Don't start blocking any holes in walls in case you trap her in there and she can't get out.  Also please don't give up on her as she may well turn up at some stage.  I would be tempted to tell neighbours that she is missing in case they see her then they can let you know.  Do you have anyone who can put a note through their doors - perhaps with a photo of her?

I do hope she turns up.  Please let me know.


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Sheila Adby


Syrian hamsters are my specialty, however, I have kept Campbells,Winter Whites and gerbils in the past. I can advise on most subjects associated with hamsters, including housing, bedding, feeding, handling, new borns and catching escapees. I have had some experience of various health problems with hamsters and can offer my opinion and advice on basic health issues, however I am not a qualified vet and therefore cannot recommend drugs etc. My website is


I have been keeping hamsters and other small animals for more than 12 years. My favourites are Syrian hamsters and I foster litters and 'difficult' hamsters for a rescue centre. My job is to tame hamsters ready for re-homing, which is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy looking after new litters and raising the pups. I have co-written a book on hamsters with my local vet and have a website:

Hamsters in Sickness and in Health - Sheila Adby and Dan O'Neill ISBN186163218-5 (Capall Bann Publishing)

Educated to A Level standard in the UK.

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