The RSPCA is appealing for information after two young gerbils were found dead in woods near Market Rasen.
The two juvenile domestic gerbils were found next to a plastic cage where it is believed they had been abandoned in Walesby Woods in Moor Road.
The cage had no top so the gerbils had been left in just the plastic tray which meant they were exposed to the elements and predators.
RSPCA inspector Daniel Bradshaw collected the bodies of the two gerbils, which were small and underweight, and searched for a third which was reportedly seen by a member of the public on Wednesday,August 9.
He said: “This was a sad sight to see.
“These young gerbils at about two months old had been left to die in the woods.
“There was no water, no food and no shelter.
“These gerbils didn’t stand a chance and have sadly died.”
The member of the public who contacted the RSPCA said she had seen the cage two weeks before but didn’t think there had been any animals inside.
Then she spotted what she thought was a domesticated mouse or rat in the dense undergrowth in the woodland and called the animal charity.
Inspector Bradshaw was unable to find the third gerbil, but was saddened to find the other two had died.
He said: “There is no excuse for abandoning any animal.
“To abandon a small vulnerable pet in this way, releasing them to the wild, is a callous and cruel thing to do.
“There is no way they could have survived.”
If you have any information on how these gerbils came to be abandoned, please call the RSPCA inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018 and ask to leave a message for inspector Bradshaw.
The RSPCA will continue to monitor the area and anyone who sees the other gerbil is asked to contact the national helpline on 0300 1234 999.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care visit their website at www.rspca.org.uk/give .
Donations can also be made by text.
To give £3 text LOVE to 87023; the text costs £3 plus the one standard network rate message.