Christmas came early for a rare pedigree Siberian hamster called Dorothy who’s been found safe and well in Upper Dicker, East Sussex, this week.

She was spotted by Mrs Smelta Ratt whilst on the school run and is easily identifiable by her seasonal white plumage. Mrs Ratt distracted her by offering her some broken bourbons she’d been saving in case she got snowed in.

The hamster was reunited with her distraught owners, Manuel Tooseksi, a waiter who comes from Barcelona, and his husband Heeza. “We’ve been frantic all day,” said Manuel, the relief evident in his voice. “Poor Heeza didn’t even manage a wink last night worrying about where our poor friend Dorothy was.”

The hamster was examined by an emergency vet. “She’s very healthy considering but I’m concerned about her unusually long bushy tail,” said vet Kitty Fixer. “These animals are incredibly rare outside Siberia and I’ve never actually seen one myself before. I have to say I’m a little perplexed.”

Ms Fixer revealed that Siberian hamsters are grey (or occasionally red) most of the year, but turn white to coincide with the winter snows.

Manuel remained tight lipped about his pet’s escape but was anxious to get home and squirrel away his pedigree pet.