A hamster spent the Easter break recovering with its English owners from the unusual ordeal of eating a Spider-Man magnet and becoming stuck to the metal bars of its cage.

Kate Meech and her four children returned to their Bugbrooke home last Thursday afternoon to find four month-old Smurf quite distressed, attached to the outside of its cage.

Kate said: “When I saw the small circular shape from inside her cheek I realised she was attached by a magnet. It took a bit of a tug to pull her away from it and then we had to keep her in a plastic box, for obvious reasons.

“She seemed to be fine so I thought she would just spit it out if she was left alone. But after checking on her for a few days I realised that, instead, her body started to push it out of her cheek, treating it as a foreign body. It made me feel quite queasy. We found the magnet and she just has a little graze on her cheek. But she’s back to her normal, loopy self.”

Mrs Meech said the magnet was understood to have come from the foot of her 10-year-old son Thomas’s toy Spider-Man figure.

She added: “I’ve warned the children to keep their toys away from the cage from now on.”

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An Austrian farmer discovered a mysterious, deep, perfectly round hole that apparently had appeared in his field overnight. Of course, this was blamed on extraterrestrial activity.

Farmer Franz Knoglinger discovered the hole while looking for a lost pet. In an interview with the Austrian Times newspaper, Knoglinger said: “I was looking for our family cat, Murlimann, when I noticed the hole. I didn’t know how deep it was, so I dropped the stone down there and heard a metallic clunk. From the time it took for the stone to reach the bottom, I realized it was very deep.”

Intrigued, Knoglinger used a rope to lower a magnet into the hole, and he concluded that whatever was at the bottom was metallic.

This only deepened the puzzle, and soon the mystery drew local, national and, finally, international attention. Curiosity-seekers, geologists and UFO buffs flocked to the farm to see the hole for themselves. A buried UFO became a favorite explanation.

A few clues shed some light on the mystery.If the hole was indeed perfectly round, then the obvious source was a drill. In fact, the hole’s perfect roundness would make it less mysterious, if anything, because drills leave round holes. A perfectly square, rectangular, or even oval shape would be more extraordinary.

A local historian decided to do a bit of digging — not in the dusty field but in the local land-use archives. It turns out the hole had not appeared overnight as Knoglinger assumed, but had been there for decades.

In fact, a half-century ago an oil company had drilled there looking for oil. A large metal drill bit became stuck and broke before workers could find anything, so they left the drill bit at the bottom of the hole and never bothered to fill it in. That’s what attracted the magnet dropped down to the bottom: not a spaceship but a large metal bit stuck in rock.

Over the years the area became farmland and people stopped noticing the hole, either because it had been covered by grass or a piece of wood or simply because, with the advent of modern farming machinery, there were fewer people working in the field.

As for the missing cat, it was eventually found hiding in a cupboard.

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