A woman who bought a hamster from a pet shop is facing a £200 repair bill after it got lost for eight hours inside her car.
Jodie Hawkins, 27, picked up the pet at lunchtime to replace her previous one which had died.
But the pet shop put it inside a cardboard box and it chewed its way out as she drove home and disappeared behind the dashboard of her Mini.
Frantic Jodie took the afternoon off work as she tried to recover the hamster – calling in a neighbour, a garage and the pet shop manager to help.
It eventually emerged by itself and was found sitting back inside its chewed box.
But before reappearing it ate through several cables behind the dashboard and it needs to go back to the garage to be put back together again.
The drama began last Monday when Jodie popped into a Bristol pet shop on a whim during her lunch break to buy a replacement hamster.
As she drove it home it chewed its way out of its cardboard carrying box and started running around the passenger footwell.
Jodie, a work placement coach at Filton College, stopped and managed to catch the hamster before popping it in a make-up bag.
But when she got home and tried to take it out of the bag it leapt out of her hands and scurried behind the dashboard.
Jodie said: “I could hear it scrabbling around in there, and occasionally I could see it run past the back of the air vents.
“I was really worried about it, and obviously that it might damage the car too.
“I drove the car to the nearest garage and they laughed at me, had a look and said they couldn’t do anything.
“Obviously, I didn’t go back to work. I started to panic and ran down the street grabbing the nearest person.”
Jodie then rang Pets at Home, who had sold her the mischievous pet, to complain about their carry box.
She said: “The manager, Adam, was amazing. He dropped everything and came over to my house to help.”
For the next five hours, Jodie, the manager, mechanics, neighbours and passers-by tried to get the hamster before eventually gaving up.
She added: “My boyfriend came home from work at one point and just couldn’t believe all these people pulling my car apart.
“I had to explain, but it was tricky because I hadn’t even told him I’d bought a hamster.
“We tried different places along the dashboard and all we could hear was her crying.
“So in the end we left her. We left a humane mouse trap, loads of food and I went inside, coming back to check every hour.
“Three hours later, at 8.30pm – so eight hours after she first went in there – I went back and there she was, just sitting back in the box I brought her home in.
“I managed to grab her and she’s now home. I took her back to Pets at Home on Saturday – in a plastic carry case – to get her checked over.”
The hamster – now named Cables Houdini – seems unaffected by her ordeal, which is more than can be said for Jodie’s car.