5 min read

Trash Collectors Open Garbage Can And See Tiny Eyes Staring Back At Them

His family accidentally threw him out — and this happens more than you'd think 🤭 🐹

Working on the morning route in late January, trash collectors Tommy Gewitzke and Ed Bolton opened up a family’s bin to remove their garbage — and were met with a pair of tiny black eyes peering up at them.

Sitting atop the trash wasn’t a typical garbage-raider like a raccoon or skunk. It was someone’s pet hamster.

Without missing a beat, the men scooped up the animal and scoured the Aylesbury, UK, neighborhood to find out whom he belonged to — but nobody who was home seemed to know anything.  

hamster found in trash england
Aylesbury Vale District Council

“To my knowledge, this is the first animal or pet they’ve ever encountered [in a bin],” Megan Williams, marketing officer for the Aylesbury Vale District Council, told The Dodo. “They were more than a little surprised.”

The men brought the hamster, whom they nicknamed Dusty, back to the company base where staff members quickly found some materials to give him a temporary home. They then brought him to a local Pets At Home store, where employees offered to care for him until his owners could be found.

After a bit more searching, the employees were able to reunite the hamster with his family that same day — and they revealed how the hamster had gotten into the bin in the first place: They thought he'd died, so they wrapped him up in bedding before laying him to rest in the garbage can that morning.

trash collectors find hamster england UK
Tommy Gewitzke (L) and Ed Bolton | Aylesbury Vale District Council

However, his life was clearly far from over. He was just hibernating — a behavior seen in wild hamsters.

“Wild hamsters hibernate during the winter, but wake up periodically to feed,” the RSPCA explains on its website. “In a warm house, artificial light and temperatures usually suppresses hibernation.”

But if a pet hamster gets cold in a drafty area of the house, they will go into hibernation for weeks at a time — which may lead their family to believe that they have died. A post explaining the phenomenon went viral last fall, where thousands of prior hamster owners worried whether their “late” hamster was actually just taking a long nap.

syrian hamster hibernate
Pet hamsters can hibernate for weeks at a time if they're too cold. | Shutterstock

“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,” Dr. Maeve Moorcroft, head of Pets at Home, said in a press release. “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. This helps to wake them up gently.”

Luckily, Dusty is now healthy and warm back at home — but for Bolton, the tiny rescue was just another part of the job he loves.

“I’m just really happy that we were able to reunite a family with their pet,” he told The Dodo.