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Firstly take a deep breath and don’t panic. It may feel like a dire situation, especially that first time... yes hamsters are masters of the great escape, but once you know what to do then you’ll feel more in control and realise it’s not necessarily the disaster you imagine.
If you are lucky, and it is surprisingly often the case, at this point the hamster will, of his own accord climb back into his nice, comfortable cage and all will be well once again. However if it is not the case then you need a second plan of attack.
Take one bucket, a thick towel and a ramp – this latter can be anything that will make a secure and steady slope up to the bucket - and fix into place. Wad the bottom of the bucket with the towel to make for a soft landing. Now scatter a very small amount of food near the base of the ramp and lead upwards. As well as this place a small amount of food in the base of the bucket. What you’re hoping for here is, of course, that the hamster will follow the trail. And when he finds more food in the bottom of the bucket he will hop down to eat. For this reason the bucket needs to be shallow enough for him to get in without hurting himself but steep enough for him not to be able to get out again. You can put a little butter on the sides of the bucket if you wish to make it more difficult. If this does not work you are now officially in stage three of the campaign and it is time to up your game.
Sometimes an escaped hamster will be found and returned to his cage within hours. Sometimes it takes a little longer. I have known a hamster be gone for two or three days at a time, without ill effect. I even know someone whose hamster makes such regular escapes that it has all become quite common place and she and her children go into automatic escapee mode, whereby they all have their own particular role to play in getting him back. She has got so used to it, she says, that she knows all his favourite hiding places, which narrows the search considerably. So I leave you with these last words from her. The main thing is to be patient and not to give up and to know the most likely places a hamster will head for.
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