If you are a hamster owner, or simply a pet owner, you feel a responsibility to your pet since they are basically helpless without your care. I love my hamster Cooty and had to recently rescue her from a situation that she, nor I, saw coming.
It was actually April 1st (April Fools Day) which really makes some sense but it wasn’t a prank, it was real life! Here is a little background. My hamster Cooty is a Syrian hamster who I rescued about a year ago from a pretty bad living situation. She was being raised in a 5 gallon aquarium with her father (who was the biggest Syrian hamster I ever saw), and her brother.
I was looking for a new hamster since my Syrian hamster Ootley died suddenly of Wet Tail after owning her for only 2 weeks. It was really sad even though I only owned her for just 2 weeks. I get attached quickly to animals. So, I immediately started looking for a new Syrian hamster to fill the void of losing Ootley. Syrian hamsters were really hard to find at the time at a pet store so I decided to check out Craig’s List. BTW, this was just before the pandemic really struck the States.
I found a female Syrian hamster about an hour from my house. As soon as I saw how this poor little Syrian hamster was being treated I paid for her and got out of there as quickly as possible. Here are a couple of images of her right after I bought her.
Anyway, I have had her now for a little over one year and she is a very happy little hamster in her Prevue 528 cage, There is plenty of space and I always take her out at least once a night when she wakes up.
So on the night of April 1st, 2021 Cooty woke up and came out of her nest around 9:30 PM and I brought her upstairs. This is when my wife usually holds and pats her while I get some food from the refrigerator. She loves broccoli, sugar snap peas, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, walnuts, and many other healthy hamster foods. She’ll usually eat for about 5 minutes until she gets full and then she starts stuffing her cheeks with the overflow.
My daughter and her husband happened to be visiting for a few days and they usually sleep downstairs and the main living area is upstairs which is where we were with Cooty feeding her. This is important to the story. After she eats she usually spends a little time with me in this cozy cocoon you see to the left.
She can sometimes spend an hour in this soft enclosure which is pretty much made of fleece so it’s very comfortable for her. Sometimes she even deposits some of the overflow food from her cheeks into this little house.
So, after a little while it was getting close to 11PM and I was nodding off. I’m usually a morning person so ever since I got my hamster I’ve trained myself to stay up at night so that Cooty will have some outside-the-cage time. My daughter and her husband said goodnight and headed downstairs to go to their bedroom. Cooty was still in her little enclosure when they said goodnight. Being so tired I nodded off again and when I woke up Cooty was gone!
I figured she probably is just under the couch which she has been in the past when she has gotten off of the couch. I looked around and she was nowhere. Now I was nervous! Where is she? I stayed up for another couple of hours until almost 2 in the morning and I couldn’t find Cooty. Needless to say I hardly slept that night.
In the morning I told my daughter when she woke up that Cooty was gone and somewhere in the house. She then said to me that she heard pretty loud scratching in the wall next to her bed at some point during the night. This wasn’t that unusual because we have had mice in the walls in the past. She did say it was louder than usual which concerned me.
Let’s say that was Cooty. If so, how did she get downstairs? I was still hoping that she was somewhere upstairs hiding and sleeping since it was daytime. I just thought what my daughter heard must’ve been mice. So that night, I put out a bunch of buckets or containers with ramps with treats leading up to the bucket both upstairs and downstairs (see image below). This is a way of capturing your hamster without hurting them and they get a bunch of treats at the same time.
I was hoping to wake up to Cooty in one of the buckets. Nothing! I even put her Prevue 528 cage on the ground with the cage door opened and some treats in front in hopes she would go back to her cage. I’ve read that it happens sometimes. I even set up a wireless camera pointing at the cage and the treats I left for her in front of the cage. If there was any movement I would hear an alarm on my phone and I could see the cage on my phone as well. I heard nothing throughout the night and also hardly slept that night!
Now I was convinced that Cooty was that scratching my daughter heard in the walls. But, if that was the case, would she still be alive? I was panicking because I would be at fault for letting Cooty out of my sight. Would she have to fight off any mice that happened to be in there? She has never had to fight anything and has been pretty pampered ever since I owned her.
Needless to say I wasn’t optimistic. I was pretty sad to be honest with you. So I went out to my shed and found 2 different crowbars, one larger and another smaller one. Luckily the walls next to my daughter’s bed was a flimsy paneling that I could easily remove with a crowbar. So, there I was about to open up the walls and not at all looking forward to what I found in there.
So I peeled back the paneling as you can see on the left and, at the same time was saying “Cooty, Cooty” softly in hopes that she would hear me and somehow be alive.
As soon as I opened up the wall and peeled away the paneling, Cooty started walking out of the pink insulation with her eyes shut but heading toward me. My depiction of what it looked like to me can be seen above but her eyes were shut and she was pretty groggy.
I screamed to my wife and daughter “Cooty is alive!, “Cooty is alive!”. I was ecstatic! The image above is a representation of Cooty coming out of the insulation in the wall. I really couldn’t take an actual picture and video because my hands were carrying the crowbar and I really didn’t expect to see Cooty walking out of the wall. I did take this picture (without Cooty added) after she was rescued though just so you can see the exact wall from which she emerged.
Cooty was a little confused as to what was happening and I tried 3 different times to grab her but she got scared and headed back into the wall. Finally she realized who I was and came out and I could hold her. It appeared that she lost some weight because she was without water and food for about 36 hours straight.
I immediately got her into her cage and she drank a lot of water. Water was my biggest concern for her because she does like to come out of her nest during the day to drink water a few times a day. I also tried to feed her but she just headed into her nest and slept. That night I just put a lot of food into her cage and decided I would just let her get acclimated back into her cage and rest up without even trying to take her out.
It has been about a week now since the incident and Cooty is doing well! She has put the lost weight back on and she appears to be very happy. I figured out how she must’ve gotten downstairs into the wall from getting loose upstairs. She was able to get under the kitchen cabinets and make her way downstairs via an opening for the kitchen sink pipes. At that point she must’ve just taken a step off the top of the downstairs wall and fell in between the studs. Fortunately the insulation must’ve braced her fall and also provided her a soft area to nest for the time she was in there. My daughter probably heard her scratching shortly after she tumbled down in between the studs.
I did happen to find 4 really old dead mice in there when I peeled back the paneling but no live mice emerged so hopefully Cooty didn’t have any altercations. I didn’t see any bruises on her so that’s good.
Anyway, that is the story of how I rescued my hamster from the wall. Thank God it all ended happily!