When Briton David Eyley found his beloved hamster limp and seemingly lifeless in his box, he decided to do the decent thing.
After waiting a few hours to make sure his four-year-old pet was dead, he buried him in a box down a two-foot hole in the garden.
But the next day he was startled to receive a call from a neighbour, saying she had seen the hamster scurrying around outside.
To his amazement, Mr Eyley, of Wantage, Oxfordshire, discovered that his brown and white pet had 'come back to life' - and managed to dig his way out of the makeshift grave.
The hamster, which was formerly known as Rhino, has since been renamed Jesus by Mr Eyley, his wife Wendy, daughter Bayley, aged 23, and 20-year-old twins Jake and Emma.
Mr Eyley, a 49-year-old painter and decorator, said he rushed back to his garden after the call to find a hole at the spot where he had buried his pet - and an empty box.
'I couldn't believe it. He was cold and lifeless when I buried him. When I found him in his box in the morning... I presumed he had died,' he explained.
'I left him all day to go to work and he was in the same position when I returned. I poked him a few times but he didn't move - he was dead. I put him in a plastic box and buried him in the garden and that was that, or so I thought.'
He said Rhino didn't seem to have been affected by the ordeal.
'Whether the sudden cold snap last week had made him go into some sort of hibernation mode, I don't know but it's a fact he came round again and burrowed out of the hole I dug with a spade in the garden.'
Neighbour Sandy Humphreys, who spotted the hamster running around her garden, said: 'I thought I was seeing things at first. I managed to catch it whilst it was huddled behind pots by our front door. I knew the Eyleys had a pet hamster and told them I had captured him. They told me theirs had just died but when they saw him they realised it was Rhino.
"I was amazed when they told me they had buried him and he had come back to life. We had a good laugh about it but he's back safe and sound now."
In other hamster news, another hamster was found stuck to the outside of a metal cage by its cheek - after eating a magnet from a Spider Man toy.
Shocked owner Kate Meech, 33, discovered four-month-old Smurf hanging from the bars by her mouth.
She yanked her free before spotting the outline of the circular magnet in her cheek pouch.
- Daily Mail