A hamster named Houdini for his escapology skills has been recaptured after two months on the run – having made a comfy home underneath the floorboards of the nextdoor neighbours.
Houdini escaped once before during the first lockdown – but was found days later.
But the runaway rodent abandoned his cage for around two-and-a-half months this time and was only discovered by workmen ripping up the floorboards of the house next door.
Nathan Jones, 29, whose team found Houdini’s new nest in Winchcombe, Glos., said: “Our electricians were doing work and running cables.
“They took the boards up came and to me and said they had found a hamster – which I assumed wasn’t alive.
“It was in a bit of a shock – we didn’t know what to do.”
It took two hours for Nathan’s team to lure Houdini from his den – with a handful of strawberries.
Nathan added: “It’s the first time I’ve seen them busy working as a team – getting that hamster. He’s probably the most expensive hamster in Gloucestershire.
“We tried to grab it – but that wasn’t working. I’ve never had a hamster. I didn’t have the first clue.
“We ran across the street to the fruit and veg lady and she swore by strawberries. She gave us a few and they worked a treat.
“Sounds quite daft, but as soon as we put the strawberries down, he was there.
“Being honest he was in good nick, I think he was living his best life under the floorboards. He’s quite a happy little fella.
“We had a bicker about who was going to keep it and they I took the decision to try and actually find the owner bounced something on the Winchcombe notice board [Facebook] it took less than 10 minutes.”
Houdini is now back with his loving family, who live in, and run, the restaurant next door.
Restaurant owner Marcus Ashenford believes the old walls of the buildings on his street provided the perfect route for Houdini to make his journey next door.
Marcus, 51, said: “It’s an old Saxon town so a lot of the buildings are very, very old.
“Because these buildings are so old, the walls, god only knows what they’re made are.
“Someone just bought the next-door property. They’ve obviously pulled floorboards up and found the hamster.”
Marcus said he, his wife and two daughters had lost hope of finding Houdini due to the length of his holiday.
He added: “We’d pretty much given up the ghost. His cage is on the kitchen on the worktops all secure and about four foot off the ground.
“He escaped on the first lockdown about April/May-ish. Thus the changing of the name from Hubby to Houdini.
“He got a way the first lockdown and he’d gone for a couple of days.
“He then appeared two days later. So we picked him up and put him back in his cage.
“Then end of October, his cage has a tube thing to run in and out – he’s been sleeping in it.
“Maybe the weight of him has eased two of the tubes and he fell out.
“Within a couple of minutes, we pulled out the panel under the kitchen cabinets – shone a torch and saw him.
“We coaxed him back out. He literally looked at me, looked me in the eyes, stuck two fingers up and legged it.
“That was it until they found him.”
Houdini was recovered on January 12