Guy Rescues A Lost 'Hamster' — Then Realizes She Isn't What She Seems

"We all laughed a lot when we figured out what it really was."

Call it a case of mistaken identity.

And an adorable one, at that.

Sanna Drogset Børstad

On Tuesday, Norwegian journalist Sanna Drogset Børstad was handed a story assignment by her editors at the newspaper iTromso  — one which, at first, seemed pretty mundane.

An email had come in from a local man, named Jostein Hansen, who was asking for help tracking down the owner of a lost pet. While dropping off his kid at school that morning, Hansen had noticed a "hamster" scurrying across the snowy road, and decided to run out and grab her before she was hit.

He stowed the little fur ball in his glove box for safekeeping before typing that urgent message to the paper.

Sanna Drogset Børstad

It's fair to say that Børstad didn't see a Pulitzer in store for her work on this one, but she opted to look into it anyway.

"I wasn't very excited," Børstad told The Dodo, "but decided to check it out."

Sanna Drogset Børstad

Børstad came to learn that Hansen's daughter has a pet hamster at home, so he knew just how important it was to help.

"If some kids have lost it, then it will be seen as a disaster," Hansen told Børstad. "So I took the chance to try to catch it."

Little did either of them know at the time just how unexpectedly the story would unfold.

Sanna Drogset Børstad

After meeting up, Hansen and Børstad traveled together with the rescued rodent to a local pet store affiliated with Animal Protection Norway. But rather than learn someone had been looking for the lost pet, they discovered something quite surprising.

The creature Hansen had found wasn't a pet at all.

Sanna Drogset Børstad

The store employee recognized immediately that the rescued "hamster" in Hansen's hand was actually a Norway lemming — a species of wild rodent who, in reality, needed no help from him at all.

(But in Hansen's defense, they do look an awful lot like domestic hamsters.)


The would-be hamster rescuer/accidental Norway lemming kidnapper was stunned and embarrassed to learn the truth.

Now realizing what he'd done, Hansen knew straightaway that he had to let the little creature go. So, while Børstad looked on, he returned the Norway lemming back from whence she came.

Sanna Drogset Børstad

In the end, Børstad's run-of-the-mill lost pet story actually turned into one she, nor anyone else involved, is likely to never forget. And though he was mistaken, no one can blame Hansen for trying.

"He did the right thing," Gøril, the worker who identified the rodent's true identity, told The Dodo. "He saw an animal he thought needed help."

But in this case, the truth set her free — and unleashed a few hearty chuckles, Børstad said:

"We all laughed a lot when we figured out what it really was."