Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

There's a Hamster in my Walls...Part I

As I write, I sit here with hands on keyboard, but ears glued to my walls. Somehow there was a jail break last night…and then the unthinkable occurred. Roaming the house was the least of my worries. She found her way into our walls and I can’t figure out how and we can’t get her out. It is a bad bad situation, made worse by the prospective fury of my spouse… for I believe she is stuck in the walls attached to his closet.

I heard gnawing in the wee hours of the morning, at 3:30AM. I do not sleep well as is, so something as loud as her gnawing might as well have been thunder. I went into the bathroom and heard it near his vanity. I was going to open it, but the horrors of last year and the 8 inch black canal rat (that is 8 inches without the tail) came to me in a cold rush, so I ran to Fiona’s cage to see if she was there. I wasn’t sure what to hope for… her being there meant their pet was safe, but it also meant we had a rat in the house. But when I got closer and flicked on the lights, my stomach sank as I realized there had been an early morning jail break.

I crept back to the Master bath, listening for her and heard nothing, so I went back to bed, staring at the ceiling, waiting, and sure enough it happened, the steady rhythm of her gnawing. I opened the vanity drawers and realized… she was not in the vanity, she had some way made it into our walls. I didn’t even bother to attempt to go back to sleep.

I had to tell my husband. I thought about saying nothing, as I have in the past when something horrible has happened… I just take care of it all myself and its as if it never occurred, but the gnawing is happening next to the shower and I could just see him half asleep at 5:45 taking a shower and hearing some gnawing at the adjacent wall. I couldn’t do that, so I told him as he made his way to the shower. It didn’t go well, to put it lightly.

Of course the guys at work think this is a riot. VW informed me that should she die in our walls, she WILL smell. This was confirmed by The Great Omnipotent One’s exterminator who happened to be at TGOO’s home when I called. It’s not a good sign when a professional says that the probability of getting her out is poor and ‘by the way, there is the product called XYZ that will over power the smell of her decomposing body.’

Everyone is a mess over this. My husband is understandably angry and I haven’t even bothered to tell him yet that she will more than likely die in the walls of his closet, which will surely throw him into a irreversible tail spin. My youngest is amused, not understanding the magnitude of the situation, and my older two are sheepish as they’re the one’s who did not secure the door tight enough, but still, they somehow think that Mom will save the day on this one too.

And I’m just horrified and sad at the same time.

I’m throwing my options through my head. I have scoured every corner of the area she could be in and have not found the entry place. It appears to be a completely sealed system, but I know better. There is a hole somewhere and she found it.

As of now, I will be going to Home Depot to get something to cut away the dry wall in the bathroom. I’ve analyzed all the walls and it’s the easiest to repair. All my other walls are painted and I’ll have to do a massive repair job as well as paint the entire wall over if I cut into one of those. The bathroom wall is where I hear her most and since it has wall paper, of which I still have extra, I can repair the wall and put up the wall paper… if I’m lucky and find her at the same time, I can do this all before he even comes home.

But as good as my life is, in the big scheme, when I look at the whacked out sh—that has happened to me, I know Lady Luck will not be on my side. I know I’m going to have a big gaping hole when he comes home, in hopes that I can get her out tonight when she awakens.

I have great trepidation in cutting this hole in my wall. I just wish it was something he could help me with, but I know that once again this is something I have to just make happen and make go away.

I’m really hoping I laugh about this in a couple months, because trust me, I’m not laughing now. I called my sister first thing this morning, as I did the morning of the rat situation, and it was de ja vu. Me on the phone, starting with my horror laugh, punctuated by sobbing. It’s not a good place for me right now.

There may be no posting from me tonight. I’ll keep you updated as I make progress.


Blogger Ith said...

That's awful :( I remember when my hamster escaped and somehow got into the wall behind the stove. I could hear him, but coudn't get to him. Luckily, Zair came out one night and fell for my hamster trap. But I'd pretty much given up hope at that point.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh, NO!!

Best of LUCK.


2:38 PM  
Blogger VW said...

Bou, if you do decide to cut into the painted wall, I'll help. I have experience in that area and it is amazing how good you can have it turn out ( if the hole is smaller than 4x4inches). But putting the hole close to her is best. The smell of food in the open hole might help. All the advice I have. Good luck.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Anita said...


Don't cut a hole in the wall . . .I seriously doubt that is necessary. Go buy a Hav-a-heart trap. Is her cage somewhere in the vicinity of the closet? Does your vanity have a toe kick? Oftentimes there are holes under the toe-kick and the hamster climbs up into there . . .we had this happen to us. I'd check there first.

If the toe kick does have a hole underneath and it is near where the gnawing sounds, set the trap near the toe kick. If not, I'd set it near Fiona's cage. Since she's new you probably don't know her favorite foods so I'd bait it with sunflower seeds, a blueberry, and a yogurt drop. You may want to sprinkle a couple of sunflower seeds in each room of your house . . .count how many . . then check the next morning to see if any are missing and place the trap there. I think it is better to set the trap alongside a wall as opposed to the middle of the room if you can . . .

Good luck!!!

We've had a lot of success at getting our hamsters back with these traps . . .hopefully it will work for you.

Did she push the door open? Definitely secure the doors to the cage with tie-tie's.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Dash said...

If all else fails and you get to the point of having to cut the drywall, don't panic. It's really not that big a deal. Obviously it's better to make the cut in the least conspicuous place you can, but bottom line is "make the cut". It's easier to patch the drywall than to deal with the odor. There are a lot of DIY tips on how to do it. Or, just call a remodeler who'll do it for a few bucks. Good luck.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before cutting into a wall you might want to do another scour to look for an entry point - the hammie had to get into the wall *somewhere*.
Other places to check might be stuff like under the sink (for example the spaces that were cut out for pipes under my sinks are *huge*,) and vents if you have any that are on or near the floor with fairly large opening (one of my childhood hammies ended up in a heater vent once).
The idea of placing out food is good too - she may just find her way out by following her nose.


7:09 PM  
Blogger Pammy said...

Ooo..good luck! I know from experience. An unfound, dead hamster does NOT smell good. Especially in the close confines of a car. We borrowed my sister in law's car once when ours was in the shop. I had promised my daughter a hamster, so off we went to the pet store. She picked one out, they put it in a little, cardboard box and off we went. We had another stop to make before heading home. SURELY, the little bugger would be ok in the car. In the securely sealed box. Only for a minute. Uh huh. When we got back to the car, a tiny hole was chewed in a bottom corner of the box...and 'Harvey' was gone. We literally tore that car up looking for him to no avail. I figured he had made the 'great escape' to the outside somewhere. When our car was done, we returned the SIL's...without telling her our story. A week or so later we were talking and she happened to mention an 'awful' smell in her car. Oh, really? Huh. "Awful" can't even begin to describe it. "Dead elephant" might be more appropriate. How vile! This went on for at least six weeks. She finally took it to a mechanic, who pulled the whole dash out. And, found the decayed remains of a 'mouse', which the mechanic said was not an uncommon problem. heh We wondered how that little devil got in there??

10:13 PM  
Blogger Harvey said...

Note to self: only buy pets too large to fit between walls.

Anyway, if you try baiting a live trap, maybe peanut butter? Smelly stuff that is, and she's gotta be hungry by now.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Jody said...

Oh, Bou, what a mess! I had a ferret who did the same thing. Alot. But she always found her way out. I'd follow Anita's advice if you have time. If not a small spot of drywall won't be too difficult to patch.

Good luck! I hope she makes it out! BTW, if she does I would keep her away from your husband for a day or two.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LW here. If you have not already cut, buy or borrow a couple of havaharts/hav-a-hearts. Use peanut butter and hamster treats. Most likely point of entry was along a pipe under the sink, but put one trap in the bathroom and one in the closet. Good luck!

5:48 PM  

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