A non-recyclable hamster named Andy is safely home, after he escaped his new cage, hid in a cardboard box, and was discovered in a Yukon recycling depot.
“I was just really surprised that my hamster ended up in a recycling box,” said 10-year-old Emily Toth.
Andy had just moved into a new home: a two-storey cage he shares with a gerbil named Maya.
But Andy had other plans: the recycling bin.
Around suppertime Tuesday night, his family realized Andy had slipped through a crack in his cage, said Toth’s mom, Melissa Croskery.
They panicked — their house has five other animals, including two dogs and two rodent-curious cats.
Meanwhile, a worker at Raven Recycling in Whitehorse was about to toss out a bin, when they noticed something moving, said Shelley Williamson, executive director of Humane Society Yukon.
It was Andy.
The hamster had burrowed into a cardboard box in the family’s blue bin. The bin had been picked up and brought to the recycling depot that morning.
Airplay8:22The adventures of Andy The Recycled Hamster
“He likes to burrow in a lot of everything,” Toth said.
“So he somehow got his way into the recycling, burrowed into a box, and I guess fell asleep.”
Raven Recycling staff brought him to the humane society, which put out a call on social media.
The girl and the hamster were reunited shortly after.
“I was really, really happy to see him,” Toth said.
Croskery said they gave Andy his favourite food — a banana — and he is in a temporary enclosure while they reinforce his cage.
Although they spent days trying to do the exact same thing before making his great escape, she said, “low and behold, Mr. Andy found a little crack.”
Toth said Andy is a Syrian hamster. He had escaped once before, she said, but that was before there were cats in the house.
She also said Andy used to be called Amy, before she said she learned he was a boy.
Toth loves animals and wants to be a vet someday. Her favourite place to go is the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, where she can spot moose and other animals.
The humane society is happy the hamster is back with his family.
“It’s not often you find a hamster in the recycling,” Williamson said.
“Hopefully they fixed his cage and he’ll be snug as a bug for the winter.”