NINE hamsters were abandoned in sealed container in a Rotherham park.
The RSPCA is investigating after a member of the public found the box covered in nibbled holes and bite marks.
Animal rescue officer Liz Braidley, who collected the hamsters, said: “They’d been abandoned together inside the box with nothing but food scattered all over the bottom.
“The hamsters had been chewing at the cardboard to try to escape but, thankfully, were found just in time.
“The member of the public found them, took them home and moved them to another cage to take care of them before calling different charities to see who could help.
“Five have been taken in by a centre we work closely with while four have remained in our care at RSPCA Manchester & Salford branch.
“They’re really lucky to have been found and rescued when they were because they would have been very vulnerable to other animals and could have easily been killed or died due to the cold temperatures at night.”
The RSPCA was called last Friday and will care for the creatures until they are ready to be rehomed.
Ms Braidley added: “Syrian hamsters are naturally solitary animals and shouldn’t be kept with others or in groups.
“Unfortunately, that means that these hamsters had been fighting. The four males were covered in fighting wounds while the five females are all pregnant, so we’re preparing for the arrival of many more hamsters soon!”
Anyone with information about the hamsters should call the charity’s inspector appeal line on 03001 238018.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care, click here or call the donation line on 03001 238181.