A HAMSTER suffering from a skin condition that has left him with bald patches was abandoned in his cage and hidden under a bush on Arthur’s Seat.
The white male hamster was spotted by a dog walker when her pooch began sniffing the area where the cage had been left, close to Meadowfield Drive, on Monday afternoon.
She contacted the Scottish SPCA and local inspector June Chalcroft collected the rodent, who has suffered significant hair loss.
He was taken to the charity’s Edinburgh and Lothians Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Balerno, where staff have named him Arthur after the spot where he was found.
Inspector Chalcroft said: “It’s likely the owner has panicked about Arthur’s skin condition and decided they didn’t want him anymore. He’s lost a lot of hair and the vet thinks it could be hormonal or due to his age.
“His condition might clear up with the right diet. For now, we’ll just have to monitor him and hope he recovers. It doesn’t appear to cause Arthur any pain and being bald doesn’t seem to bother him at all.
“He’s a really friendly and well-handled wee guy, so he’s obviously been someone’s pet.”
She added: “Whoever left Arthur has been particularly cruel by hiding him under a bush, where it was unlikely he would be found. Although there was food and water in his cage, he would eventually have starved to death, so we’re keen to track down whoever owned him.”
It is unclear whether or not Arthur’s hair will grow back.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish SPCA said: “We don’t think Arthur had been under the bush for long because his water and food were still quite full.”
Local residents already seem keen to rehome Arthur, with around eight people contacting the Edinburgh and Lothians centre yesterday to ask if they could reserve him.
Centre manager Diane Stewart said: “Arthur is a real sweetheart and he’s such a friendly hamster.
“He’s eating and drinking really well and is recovering nicely after all he’s been through.
“We’ve already had a lot of phone calls from people wanting to rehome Arthur, but he’s not quite ready to leave us yet.
“He’s getting the love and care he deserves from the staff here.”
Abandoning an animal is an offence that carries stiff penalties of up to a maximum of six months in prison, a £5000 fine or both. Anyone found guilty of doing so can expect to be banned from keeping animals for a fixed period or for life.