This little hamster is back in her cage – but now with extra padlocks after spending almost a week on the run... hidden down a drainpipe.
James Hammond and his partner Sharon Weaver were shocked when they returned home to find their pet hamster Rolo had managed to free herself from her cage.
The mischievous creature’s location then proved a mystery and James and Sharon frantically scoured their house in Wombwell, Barnsley, in a bid to recover the escaped rodent.
But when James looked behind the kitchen cupboards and heard a suspicious sound they discovered Rolo’s hiding place – three metres down a drainage pipe close to the sink.
The hamster eventually spent four nights down the pipe, while the couple were forced to call out drainage engineer Darren Hatfield, who located Rolo with a special camera.
He succeeded in coaxing the animal back to the surface using an ingenious method – a peanut tied to a length of string, and a piece of wire mesh.
James, aged 40, who works in motorcycle sales, said he and pharmacy assistant Sharon, 52, were ‘relieved’ to have Rolo back, after believing they had lost her for good.
James said: “It was crazy – Sharon was in tears when we got her back and Rolo was just looking at me as if she was asking what the problem was. She’s got big padlocks on her cage now, it can’t happen again.”
James – who owns two other pets with Sharon, a guinea pig called Sevvy and a budgie, Smoky – said Rolo has proved to have a restless personality since they bought her three months ago.
“She just never keeps still, you can tell she’s clever,” he said. “I thought hamsters were supposed to be quite quiet and slept all day, but she is always on the go.”
James said Rolo’s great escape happened during the day while he and Sharon were at work.
“We got back and realised the cage door was open. Rolo is intelligent and would understand how to force it open herself.
“I think she must have been shocked that she found herself out and then hopped off the work surface on to the floor and had a wander round.”
He added: “We weren’t aware she was in the kitchen, we thought she could be upstairs or anywhere. The following day I noticed a hole under the sink, a couple of inches wide, which goes into the ground. I thought she could be down there, so I threw a peanut down and heard her crunching it.”
James called drain repair firm Dynorod’s Sheffield office, which sent Darren with a small CCTV camera.
“I told them it was an emergency. She was down the pipe for four nights – it was getting her out that proved difficult. We kept Rolo fed by throwing nuts and hamster food to her.
“The way we got her out was to put wire mesh down the pipe so she was able to climb up it. We were genuinely upset about losing Rolo, we thought we’d never get her back. Our pets are like children to us.”