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GIZMO the pet hamster survived for three days locked in a freezer.

His owners had searched high and low for him and given up hope of finding the 15-month-old rodent.

But when Sandra Beardsworth went to get some ice lollies for her children, there he was - sitting on a packet of frozen prawns.

She said: "He had icicles hanging from his fur, and a half-open bag of potato chips in front of him - he'd obviously tucked in to whatever he could find, until he was rescued.

"We thought he was a goner but after cradling him in my hands he started to come around. And five minutes later he was getting back to his playful self."

Gizmo escaped after Laura-Jane, seven, and Anthony, six, had been playing with him and forgot to close the cage door.

The patio doors were open and Mrs Beardsworth, of Bolton, Lancashire, was afraid he had got out.

After the happy ending, the family bought him some chicken from a fast-food restaurant as a special treat.

A spokesman for The British Small Animal Veterinary Association said: "Survival is much more likely in cold rather than hot conditions.

"However, this is certainly very unusual. Hamsters don't hibernate as a rule but perhaps he went into a form of hibernation and survival instincts set in."

The Cryogenics Advisory Unit at Southampton University said: "Gizmo is a very lucky hamster indeed. The temperature range in domestic freezers would usually kill any animals after such a long period."
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Author:Frew, Callum
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 23, 1999
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