Fourteen days ago, our pet hamster escaped. We could hear him but not
reach him for the first day, then silence. Okay, so he died. Sad,
especially for the kids, but no big deal really. We thought.
Then, four days ago - ten days after the disappearance, I noticed a
faint bad smell in a second-floor room, directly above the family room
where the hamster cage was (and, in several past escapes, he'd always
confined himself to the family room). It smelled a bit like garbage.
Bit by bit, the smell has overtaken the house. It's still faint, but
still garbage-like, and it is strongest in the rooms at the back of our
house, which is the side of the house from which the hamster was last
We started to put two and two together, and just for grins, checked my
furnace filter today (wondering if I'd see any hamster hair or whatever).
The filter was replaced six months ago and looked like it had been there
for 20 years. This is a (roughly) six inches thick by three feet wide
by three feet long hepa filter, accordion-folded hepa paper. There was
pink insulation all through the filter, bulging the corrugations way out
of shape. The top edges of several folds were chewed through in a
rounded way, like rodent chews.
We've got our HVAC guy coming this week to clean the ducts in the house,
which have never been cleaned, ever. I'm hoping that this gets a lot -
dust, dirt, and especially the hamster.
1. What are the chances that the mess in my filter came from the
hamster, vs. some random rodent intruder?
2. How the heck could whichever culprit have gotten into my furnace
3. What are the chances that the duct cleaning will pull the deceased
rodent from the system?
a) We have a heat pump heat system, and when I say "furnace" I'm talking
about the inside basement unit.
b) So the temperature in the duct wouldn't have been hot enough to
fast-kill the rodent.
c) There are floor vents in the house, maybe 12 inches by two inches,
and wall cold-air returns. The fins in these things are (guessing) 3/8"
apart, and I can't imagine our hamster fitting into them.