Apartment Stories: The Tale of the Escaping Ninja Hamster


Hairy Houdini: Well schooled in the covert arts and a skilled escape artist, the hamster ranks as the animal underworld’s premier criminal mastermind. (cdrussorusso via Flickr)

Generally speaking, the smaller the pet, the better suited it is for apartment living. Especially if it’s your first apartment and you’re looking for something low-maintenance before you jump into getting a mastiff.

At least, that’s how I felt when I decided that I wanted a furry companion for my first place. So at the pet store, I came to the conclusion that a Chinese dwarf hamster would be my new pet. How exciting!

About a week later, I checked on Stella before going to sleep and got ready for bed. Soon enough, I was asleep for the night. That is, until about 3 a.m., when I launched myself out of bed shouting. I woke up suddenly with the sensation of tiny little paws and whiskers on my leg.

[ Related: Dog or Cat: Which Pet Is Right for You? ]

Once I calmed down, I located the cause of my distress…Stella!

Somehow, she had gotten out of her cage and into my bed in the middle of the night. I put her back in the cage, positive that I had left the door open when I gave her dinner.

Another week later, I got home from class before going to work and noticed that Stella’s cage door was open and … she was gone. Panic set in, and I ran around my room searching under the bed, the desk and behind my bookcase. Eventually, just before I had to leave for my shift, I found her in the closet in my clothes hamper. What a disaster.

Week after week for the next two months, I would come home or wake up to find that Stella had disappeared or snuggled into my blankets. There was just no way that I was leaving her cage open that frequently, I thought.

So I decided to set up a running video camera when I left one day. I rushed home and … nothing! I had several hours of tape of Stella running in her wheel, eating seeds and napping. While it was adorable, it didn’t solve the mystery.

Every day for a week I taped Stella, and every day I was disappointed to discover she was just acting like a hamster. Maybe I was leaving the door open. Then one day, my confusion came to an end.

As I was opening the door to my room, I saw the most amazing thing and stopped in my tracks.

[ Related: Hop to It: The Other Four-Legged Friend You Might Consider Adopting ]

Stella was standing on the shelf next to her door, pushing and chewing on the hook that kept her door shut. Then she shoved open the door and climbed out on to it once it was lying down. She grabbed onto the bar, dangled by her toes and dropped to the floor. Like a ninja. She then proceeded to climb up the comforter on my bed and snuggle into my blankets. I ran up, grabbed her and put her away.

From that moment on, I made sure to tape her door shut so I wouldn’t have to play “find the hamster” each a week.

For more funny stories or to learn more about apartments and pets, keep reading our blog!

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