I will do anything for my freedom except go to bed hungry

Sam bought our hamster Stella last summer as a surprise for Isadora and I. Stella is a Syrian hamster and like all hamsters she has that adorable vacant look but if you ask me she is as smart as a hamster can be. Three days after we bought her she got out of her cage through the hole intended for a water bottle (for some reason the pet store was out of water bottles). We found her 24 hours later when she came out for a drink, she’d been living in our Christmas tree! Since then we have gotten to know Stella. She is a very sweet hamster, very patient with my daughter, and super duper curious. She figures out her toys very quickly so we have taken to buying rat toys for her instead. She does not run in a wheel like other hamsters either so she is a little more challenging to keep amused. We bought her a little cabinet recently for hiding treats. The animal is supposed to pull the string in a special way to get into the drawer, not Stella she opens the drawers with her hands. Duh isn’t that how drawers open?

Wednesday night Isadora left her cage open and the door to her room. We have Stella in a safe room encase she would escape. The door to that room has a very very low clearance and shuts securely. The room has no cables and no nooks for her to hide in so aside from chewing some wallpaper not too much trouble to be had. Only it doesn’t work as a safe room if you leave the door open! Anyway Thursday morning we realized she was missing and we pretty much dismantled everything in our efforts to find her. Stella does not wake up for anyone, in the daytime she is a blob, completely 100% relaxed, no fucks given so we knew she’d never come out in the daytime. We saw evidence in the hobby room where she had shredded some wrapping paper but no poops (Stella is very particular about where she poops). We set up some food piles with flour around them in different rooms in an effort to track her. The next morning we found 2 food piles were gone the one under the stairs and the one in the kitchen. But both tracks led to dead ends Still we suspected she was in the kitchen because honestly our house doesn’t have that much hiding places as far as houses go (by that I mean inaccessible areas). On Friday Sam uncovered her hiding spot. She had gotten under the floor/in the wall behind the kitchen sink. In the process of getting there she’d chewed up the dishwasher cable because sadly it had gotten in the way. We were unable to access her in anyway so it was a wait and see situation. From her location it was possible for her to get outside (a big worry because we get a lot of cats in our yard).

Friday night we set up a bucket trap and hoped for the best. That night Sam snored more than he has ever snored before so I heard nothing of her comings and goings. Stella did not fall for the trap she did, however take the food we left for her under the stairs. We realized more aggressive measures were needed so we barricaded the kitchen and duck taped every nook and cranny. We also created a one-way exit using the bucket trap. Sunday morning I got up super early to see if we’d caught our little hamster and there she was just sitting by the barricade in the open. The barricade was keeping her from the food under the stairs. She had avoided the bucket trap by ignoring the treats and jumping off the ramp (and they say bucket traps are effective but Stella was never fooled by it). She looked up at me and got into my hand without making any fuss. My poor sweet hamster just couldn’t fathom going to bed hungry. I don’t know how long she had been waiting there but she had plenty of time to bolt as I had to walk down the stairs to get to her and I am not a ninja. She seems okay except that she cut her hands on the fiberglass insulation a little. She was very good at letting Sam examine them and he doesn’t see any sign of infection.


15 responses to “I will do anything for my freedom except go to bed hungry

  1. a delightful story behind your narrative. My son had a Siberian hamsters when he was 10 and loved it – I’d rescued it from its destined destinationation of a biological lab! Your syrian hamster is evidently very clever too

    • That is wonderful news I would hate to think of the life he/she would have in a lab. My daughter is 10, she was beside herself when she thought Stella might die or get outside. Honestly I would cry too. She is so curious, she always wants to know what we are doing, what we are watching, what we are listening too. She investigates everything we put in her cage and figures out how to use the toys within minutes. She loves to dismantle the toys carefully so she can use the strings, I mean even knotted toys somehow she always gets out the string intact.

  2. I just had to stop in and add, from our email conversation: I have NO idea why the name “Sheila” was banging about in my head – I think Stella works really well for her – so, so much for by porridge brain!

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