A FAMILY have renamed a pet hamster Jesus after it rose from the grave the day after they buried it.

Lisa Kilbourne-Smith, 23, and her boyfriend James Davis, 24, were looking after Tink the hamster for a friend when they found her lying lifeless in her cage.

The Painswick couple thought she was dead and wrapped her body in kitchen roll and buried her in a 1ft deep grave in their flower bed.

But the next day – Good Friday – the hamster had ‘risen from the dead'.

It had eaten its way out of the paper shroud, dug its way out of its grave and then climbed a pipe to land in a recycling box.

The rodent then survived the coldest Easter on record by crawling into an empty cat food cardboard box which became her shelter through the night.

Tink was found by Lisa’s startled dad Les while he was in the back garden crushing boxes to recycle.

Bus driver Les, 60, who lives next door to Lisa and James, said: "Suddenly a little face popped out of one of them which gave me a big startle I can assure you.

"We’ve nicknamed her Jesus because it was Easter when she came back from the dead.

"It’s amazing that she survived. She’d been out in that freezing cold all night – it was a good 24 hours.

“The energy she had to dig herself out of that hole, then get along the wall and climb up into that recycling box was remarkable really."

Experts say that Tink had infact gone into hibernation.

Vet John Auld, partner at Aspinall Auld and Stevenson Animal Hospital in Abbeydale, Gloucester, said: "This isn’t the first instance of a hamster coming back from the dead that I’ve come across.

"If its body temperature drops below a certain level the animal can go into hibernation.

"It has been known for owners to mistakenly believe that their pets have died when in fact they are only sleeping.

"However, I’m amazed by this hamster. The animal’s body temperature would have had to have risen to rouse it from hibernation.

"With the temperatures we experienced over Easter, one would think that the ground would have been far too cold for it to come out of its dormant state."