Selma’s library has fun keeping up with escape artist

Published 10:20 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lu Lu, one of two hamsters at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library, has been on the run as of late, breaking out of her friendly confines and roaming the library for days. The staff finally found Lu Lu and returned her to her home Tuesday. -- Ashley Johnson

Children peeked in between books on shelves and wanted posters hung all over the library this week for the ongoing search of Lu Lu the hamster. The Selma-Dallas County Public Library is home to several pets and two are hamsters — Lu Lu and Louisa. Since Lu Lu arrived at the library two weeks ago, she has escaped twice and according to the library’s director Becky Nichols, Lu Lu has been wandering around the library for most of the two weeks.

“Tonight will be her first night in her new home,” laughed Nichols, who finally found Lu Lu Tuesday, one week after she went missing. “Lu Lu has been missing since the Tuesday of the major flood, so perhaps it was an act of desperation, maybe she was headed for higher ground.”

Several days after her disappearance, Nichols posted a $5 reward for the child who found her, and after a few more days that amount quickly increased to $6, “as a bit of an enticement,” she said.

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The library staff set out a harmless trap nightly and placed a trail of sunflower seeds leading the way to it. Inside the trap was an entire bowl of food.

“The food was being eaten and the water bottle was being sipped out of so we knew she at least was in the building,” Nichols said about how she checked the trap every morning, only to find the food bowl empty and seeds scattered all over the floor. “She is just a traveling woman.”

Nichols walked into the library Tuesday to find Lu Lu staring at her while perched under a shelf near the trap, “almost as if she had forgotten one of her seeds and was trying to go back.”

According the library staff, the other hamster, Louisa, now 3-years-old, would also sneak out in her younger days. Nichols attributes this to the mystique and wonder of the library.

“There must be something elusive about the night life in the public library that is beckoning to the hamster because all of them have done that,” she said.

Though Tuesday night Lulu is sleeping safe and sound in her three-story house, it may not be long before the wild hamster is on the loose again.

“It’s a nice house three floors, brand new and rent free, food provided. All she has to do is just wiggle and smile. It’s a great job,” Nichols said. “But I fully expect her to be missing again when I return tomorrow morning.”