The Scottish SPCA is appealing for information after 14 gerbils were abandoned in a field behind a vets in Ayrshire.
Scotland’s animal welfare charity was alerted when the creatures were discovered in Maybole on 5 April.
The gerbils are now in the care of the charity’s animal rescue and rehoming centres in Ayr and Glasgow.
Animal Rescue Officer Danielle Higgins said: “There were male and female gerbils so we think they may have been a result of accidental breeding.
“They were found on a chopping board with a wire cage placed on top so they were totally exposed to the elements. Had they not been discovered, the wire cage could easily have blown off and then and there is no telling what would have happened to them, so it’s very lucky they were spotted.
“If anyone has any information we urge them to get in touch. We will soon be looking to find the gerbils loving new homes in same sex pairs or small groups.” Anyone with information is being urged to contact the SSPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.