Hamster Hunting

New years is always a good time of the year. School is on break, there isn't much going on besides relaxing and having a good time. Except this year. This year had a slightly different NYE-day. Brittany and I were out watching the UFC fights on Friday. We returned home after and didn't see our hamster Oreo in her enclosure which was weird considering it was almost 3 in the morning and she is normally active at that time.

Whatever. We will go to bed and see what is going on in the morning. So we go to sleep, wake up and check the enclosure again. This time we actually dug into her bedding to see if she was there. Piece by piece we dismantled her enclosure and dug through every bit of fluff. No hamster. At this point we are rather concerned since Oreo was running free through the apartment and who knows what she could get into. We start by looking in all of the obvious places in our apartment, our room, the kitchen, the living room. Still no hamster. We open all of my roommates doors and look under their beds to see if she is obviously there but she isn't so we decide to wait.

One thing we discovered when sweeping the apartment was that one of our cacti was having problems. The problem being that it had been uprooted and knocked onto the floor. It is roughly 30 centimeters tall and has spines lengths around 1-3 centimeters. We immediately feared the worse. Imagine a poor little hamster plugged full of spikes and alone.

Since we know that hamsters are nocturnal, they tend to curl up and sleep all day. Oreo is no exception to this. Despite searching for over an hour we decided to wait until night time to see if we could catch her. The plan was simple, build a hamster trap and wait.

One of our main concerns was hydration for Oreo. We had little plates set out with water on them so that she could have something to drink. Near one of said plates we had a stack of textbooks shaped to look like steps. On each step we placed a small piece of food. The final step would put her at the same height as a bucket. On the rim of the bucket we had a small piece of lettuce and in the bucket, more food, nesting fluff and a larger amount of her regular food.

This picture shows vaguely what we did except we left out the piece of cloth over the top since we didn't want Oreo to get all tangled up in the drop.

We had originally planned to stay in and try and look for her but instead decided to go out anyways. This did seem like the logical plan since the apartment would be dark and quiet, something more enticing for Oreo to wander around in.

We got home from dancing with friends around 3:00 am. We got in bed around 3:30 am. I was having a hard time sleeping so I decided to get up around 4 and look for Oreo, at least to check the water and placed food. I walk out of Brittany and I's room to hear a familiar scratching and jumping sound. I turn on the living room light and walk over to see none other than Oreo trapped inside the bucket!

I never really had any pets growing up so you could say that she is my first real pet (despite being Brittany's). I have grown surprisingly attached to Oreo over the year and a bit that Brittany and I have had her. It was such a relief to see that little fluff ball.

While she struggled I set up her enclosure again (we had turned it on it's side to see if she would go in), and then placed her in it with one slight modification, her water bottle was no longer in the enclosure. I provided her with another plate and some more water on it to get her through the night so that we could get a permanent fix for her in the morning.

What we have pieced together is that she most likely climbed on to her tunnel box and from that onto her food dish and then onto her water bottle and somehow out of the enclosure. I was really impressed that she got out, at least as much as one could be with an escaped pet.

In the morning we took some extra velcro that we had and placed a new, lower patch in her enclosure. We then put her water bottle back in the enclosure and Oreo seems to be perfectly content again. She does seem exceptionally tired today as it is around Midnight as I am writing this and she is still sleeping.

All in all the little ham got caught and put back where she belongs without any harm coming to her. Not a terrible way to end 2016 and start 2017. Alex, Brittany and Oreo in the Great Hamster Hunt of 2016.

Happy 2017 everybody! Best of luck to you all.


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