How to Catch an Escaped Rodent
Kid-friendly Guide to catching Escapees
At some point, everyone keeping pet rodents has had one escape! It's important to think about how to prevent this, but the unexpected can always happen. Don't Panic! Here are some easy methods for tracking down your wayward pet.
Is it recent?
If you are free-ranging your pet and lost track, or you saw your pet very recently then stop. Look around and check exit points, if you are free-roaming you should already have shut the door and blocked exit points so your task is easier. If not, slowly close the doors and windows and sit somewhere (if a sofa, check under cushions first!), stop and listen. Chances are if you are patient, you will hear some gnawing sounds or the patter of small feet.
Once you've identified this, you should be able to get closer to your pet and encourage it into a small box or your hands if tamer. It's important to stay calm and quiet, and move slowly so you don't alarm your pet.
Look for Signs
If your pet has chewed out of a cage or otherwise escaped and you don't know when, you need to look for signs and think like your pet! Rodents do not like big open spaces, so will likely have gone around the corners of the room. Is the gap under the door big enough for them to escape? Are there gaps behind the radiator? Can they climb the curtains or jump from floor to chair to desk to shelves?
In winter, your pet may search for a warmer space or nest. Near a radiator, or inside a pile of washing. Look for signs such as chewed items or poo.
Trapping your Pet
If you have to wait a longer time to get your pet safely home, then do leave out small jar lids of water. Although your pet can likely find crumbs of food, water will be harder for them to find.
Some keepers choose to put tinfoil on the floor and then hide in the room with the lights off listening, others have had success sprinkling flour around to see if they can discover footprints. It is important to close windows and any exit points once you know you have an escapee, thankfully your pet will likely spend some time close to familar surroundings seeking warmth and food. Placing some familar bedding or the cage nearby can also encourage your escapee to investigate.
Humane rodent traps exist, in sizes for mice and rats. These can be baited with something that smells enticing and with interesting food inside. Peanut butter works well for this. Place your traps around the corners of your room, near hiding spots. Your pet will come out when it is quiet and dark, with many being caught overnight. Good Luck!