If you've got an adorable pet hamster who's a bit of an escape artist, you know that feeling of panic that sets in when they won't reveal themselves. But take heart — it's unlikely you've lost your pet forever. They're probably just as scared as you are! And if you're a new hamster owner, it can take them time to grow comfortable with their human, which can exacerbate the hiding. Fortunately, coupled with plenty of patience, there are a few ways you can entice your furry friend to come out of hiding.
Why Do Hamsters Hide?
"Hamsters are typically shy and hide whenever they feel like they are in danger," Sara Ochoa, DVM, told POPSUGAR. She also noted that hamsters have tunneling instincts that motivate them to escape their cage and seek out a hiding place somewhere in your home.
Dr. Ochoa noted that it doesn't take much to send a hamster into hiding mode, explaining that a new hamster may also take cover within the cage and refuse to come out. You probably envisioned lots of time to hold and play with your furry friend, but Dr. Ochoa cautioned against putting too much pressure on your pet early on. "Do not attempt to force your hamster from hiding, as this may result in stress and trauma," she explained.
How Can I Help My Hamster Come Out of Hiding?
"Hamsters are scared of loud environments and feel safe in quiet and dark places," Dr. Ochoa said, so lower your voice and avoid sudden movements when you are in the room with your pet. It's especially important to help children understand this, since their movements and voices tend to be more unpredictable.
Dr. Ochoa recommended giving your hamster food or a treat to entice them to come out of their hiding place in their cage. She suggested waiting quietly and patiently with the treat in your hand, and she emphasised the importance of remaining calm when your pet does venture out from under cover. "Treat them as a fragile pet and let your hamster get the hang of the environment you have prepared for them. Make sure to take your time with the little fella!" she advised.
If your hamster is hiding somewhere in your house or room, Maureen Murithi, DVM, suggested using what she called the "bucket method" to get your hamster to come out. "Place some treats like sunflower seeds, fruits, or raisins inside a small bucket — not too deep though. Use some books as a staircase to enable your hamster to climb up," she said. Dr. Murithi explained that this trick works by tapping into your hamster's instinct to forage for food. When they smell the treats, they'll be motivated to come out and search for them. Just remember to praise and soothe your hamster when they do, so they get comfortable with you and their new home.