The Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder has posted a gory shot on to encourage fans to "have a heart" and support his charity.

The animal rights activist has posed holding what appears to be a bloody heart as part of a drive for his charity venture, The Ian Somerhalder Foundation.

In a message posted alongside the gruesome Instagram picture, the actor urges his followers not to forget good causes and family time over the festive period.

He writes, "Good morning... Have a heart today? Adopt a creature that needs a great home... No matter what you do today, please please please try not to let an upcoming holiday season stress you out...Time spent together and love is far more valuable than something that comes in a box that you had to fight over in a line. Young ones, I hope you see the value of want vs need and of not stressing your already-stressed parents to buy things you simply don't need - parents I hope you can make time for your little ones. I'm looking down at our world from 30,000ft and hoping that everyone finds happiness in some way..."