Friday, February 13, 2009

Not Smarter Than a Hamster Either

I think I’ve made a pretty good case that I am not smarter than a 5th grader. This week, however, I have even been outdone by a hamster, a glorified rat. It’s immaterial how my 7-year-old’s pet got loose from his cage (or hamster condo as the folks at PetSmart call it. They are a sensitive bunch and “cage” is so…torturous in a right wing sort of way). Fact is, the little bugger is out.

For the past eight or nine days, I’ve caught glimpses of him, but when I reach to pick him up, he activates some heretofore unseen rocket boosters and dashes behind a bookcase, leaving me to bump my head and utter words no 7-year-old should hear.

I went back to PetSmart and asked about humane traps. From the incredulous look I received, one would have thought I had become unabashedly flatulent in the middle of their store. “Why sir, we don’t believe in TRAPPING anything,” the sneering ex-flower child clerk said.

Her solution: “Put out some food and bedding. Get up in the middle of the night (yes, she said MIDDLE OF THE DAMN NIGHT) and see where he might be making his ‘home’ so you might catch him napping in the daytime.” I can think of a thousand responses, and those of you who know me can probably accurately guess the first five that popped in my mind.

But why argue? It’s an $11.00 animal. He is dispensable, but then again so is the ice coming from my ice dispenser, the tubing of which I’m convinced the hamster will chew through, and then he will become a $75-plus-parts-and-labor plumber’s visit animal.

I found my humane traps—the kind that make the animal stick to them—a set of four for less than $5.00. They even had an anesthetic to calm the animal so he didn’t stress himself into a coronary waiting on me to get up at some point well past the “middle of the night.”

Wednesday morning, 7:15. One trap is completely missing. No trail of food. No “I scared the crap out of him,” pellets. No animal hair. No sticky residue. Nothing.

He’s not behind the bookcase; nor the washer; nor the stove; nor under the couch; nor behind the fridge. I half expected to hear Bugsy the hamster clomping around my house with a checkbook-sized rodent trap stuck to one foot like a snowshoe. No such luck. Just one missing rat trap; one missing hamster, and one humiliated, frustrated, head-scratching me!


  1. Okay, try this...take one or two sheets of tissue paper, a large coffee can, a rubber band, a ruler, and some hamster food. Stretch the tissue paper tightly over the can lid and secure with the rubber band. It should be thin enough to poke through easily with your finger. Make a ramp with the ruler (secure it well, or he won't walk up it), and trail hamster food up the ramp and onto the tissue paper. Hopefully, when Mr. Hamster comes up to have his snack, the tissue paper will tear, and he'll fall into the coffee can and be trapped. Just make sure it's a fairly large can...those lil suckers can jump!

  2. Jackie's right about the jumping critters. And that's a fine, humane, un-trap plan she gave.

    I always found our tiny walkabout beasties during nap time in the middle of the day. Yes DAY. They were always in a corner and while grumpy, I never needed stitches.

    Good luck!

  3. I vote double barreled shotgun.


  4. Places we have found hamsters:

    1. Cat's stomach. Hamster head and four feet remained on floor mat. Cat looked happy.
    2. In a closed closet. Hamster chewed entrance through carpet and under door.
    3. Under trashcan with foot-operated lid. The foot pedal opening was just right for hamster underground railroad hiding place.
    4. In plastic storage bin in closet. Hamster had fallen in and couldn't get out. Cat found him but we were too fast for cat to finish him. Good luck. You'll have to get one of those aquarium tanks. Those hamster palaces are too easy to break out of.

  5. I agree with the aquarium "cage". Works very well and is a LOT easier to clean. So if you recapture Bugsy, go buy a nice, deep fish tank.