8 Feb 2018
Photo: (L)Tommy Gewitzke (left) and Ed Bolton (right), two members of the collection crew who rescued ‘Dusty’ and (R) ‘Dusty’ the black and white Syrian hamster.
Aylesbury Vale District Council’s Recycling and Waste collection crew members came to the rescue of a hamster found in a local resident’s refuse bin.
On the morning of Wednesday 31 January, the collection crew were more than a little surprised when they opened the lid of a refuse bin to find a small black and white hamster. After an initial unsuccessful attempt to contact the owner, the crew brought the hamster, affectionately named ‘Dusty’, back to base at Pembroke Road where staff created a temporary home before taking it to Pets at Home in Aylesbury. The team there were incredibly helpful and offered to care for ‘Dusty’ while the Recycling and Waste team tried again to contact the owner.
Luckily, contact with the owner was made on the same day and they were equally as surprised as the crew members to learn that their pet was alive and well. They explained that the hamster was presumed dead and as such had been wrapped up in its bedding and placed in the bin.
Dr Maeve Moorcroft, Head of Pets at Pets at Home, said: “We’re pleased to hear that the hamster was rescued from the wheelie bin and that our colleagues at Pets at Home Aylesbury were able to care for it until it was returned to its owners. We sympathise with the family as we know it can be extremely difficult to tell whether your hamster is hibernating or has actually died if you don’t know how to wake them up.
“Wild hamsters hibernate during the winter but when living in a warm house, artificial light and temperatures usually suppress this hibernation which means it isn’t common for domestic hamsters to hibernate.
“However, if your hamster is kept in a colder part of the house, they could go into hibernation during the winter for days or weeks at a time. They can be left alone if this happens but it’s important to make sure that they have plenty of fresh water, fresh food and nesting material and to check on them regularly. Their heart rate and breathing will slow to such a rate that it can be very difficult to tell if they are alive or not but they will not go stiff and hard as happens after death.
“To check if they are hibernating move them to a warmer part of the house to see if they wake up or hold them carefully in your hands against your warm body as this tactile stimulus helps to wake them up gently. Care must be taken not to try to heat them up quickly as this can be harmful.
“If you’re at all unsure whether your pet is well or not, or have concerns about their health or behaviour, you should always contact your vet for advice.”
AVDC is delighted to report that the hamster has now been reunited with his owners who are delighted with his return.