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RSPCA releases round up of top:- Rescues and Animal Antics of 2020


WHILE 2020 felt like a difficult year, it hasn't all been doom and gloom. Our animals have provided comfort, joy and happiness while we endured Lockdown uncertainty. As well as the companionship of our wonderful pets, animals have also provided us with some laughs, including those who got themselves into a-moo-sing situations and needed a helping paw from the rescue teams at the RSPCA. From a lizard found in a bag of potatoes in Whitley Bay, to a deer who travelled up escalators to get stuck on the rooftop terrace of Oxford's Westgate Shopping Centre, an owl rescued from a Grandfather clock in Bolton, to a bat who travelled hundreds of miles to Hartlepool hiding in the boot of a new car; animals do the funniest things!


So, just to cheer you up after this challenging year, here are 20 of the RSPCA's funniest animal rescues during 2020:-

1. For Pups Sake!

A cockapoo puppy ended up in a pickle after getting wedged under a reclining chair! The 8 week old pup; nicknamed Pudding by his rescuers; had crawled under the sofa and got his fur caught in the mechanism when his owner unknowingly reclined the chair with him underneath. Inspector Hannah Nixon was called to the home in Portsmouth, on 27 October 2020. The puppy was one of five born to the family's dog, Phoebe, and was the last waiting to go off to his new home. Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service came to help to remove the electrics and cut Pudding free unharmed.

2. 'How did ewe get down there?!'

Rescuers from the RSPCA, fire service and local farmers launched a 4 hour mission to save a lamb who was having a baaaaad day. RSPCA officer Emily Welch rushed to a field in Durham, on 3 May 2020 to help the lamb who had fallen through a broken manhole and into the pipe below. She said:- "The farmer noticed the lamb's mum stood at the top of the hole looking lost and he couldn't spot her baby. When he went to investigate he heard the little lamb bleating from down the drain." Using a digger, they dug down to him 15m into the pipe! The cold lamb was freed and ran back to mum.

3. What a drip!

Rescuers were called to Sevenoaks, Kent, on 14 April 2020 to help a fox cub who'd got a watering can stuck on his head! Officer Lynn White said:- "This poor fox had probably got stuck while he was trying to get some water out of the can. He was very exhausted from trying to remove it himself. I wasn't sure how best to get him out, but then I remembered I had some Vaseline in my van and so I used that on his neck and then I was able to slide him out of the can!" He was bedraggled but feisty so after a quick check up he was released back into the undergrowth.

4. 'I seal you there!'

Workers at a gym equipment warehouse in Llanelli, Wales, were stunned to find a grey seal pup amongst the treadmills when they arrived at work, on 11 December 2020. It's believed he travelled up the River Loughor before making his way into the warehouse. Staff ushered him out and back into the river, but he was found, 2 days later, in a ditch in Llangennech. It's believed he entered one of the chambers; which was full of oily water; at the construction site in high tide. RSPCA inspector Leigh Summers attended and collected the sick, underweight pup.

5. Up to his neck in it

A newborn calf was lucky to be saved after getting stuck neck high in mud. The calf ventured into a boggy pond that had dried up in the hot weather and began to sink into the mud. Inspector Ryan King was called to Rochdale, Greater Manchester, on 31 May 2020 after a tram driver spotted him and feared he might drown. Ryan said:- "I managed to get a towel under his nose to keep his head above the mud and water and make sure he could breathe while I set about freeing him." He waded into the mud, wrapped a towel around him like a sling, pulled him free and carried him out.

6. Having a baaaad day?!

A lost billy goat needed help after being found at a bus stop in Bradford, West Yorkshire! He'd been causing quite a stir in the town when officers were called to help him, on 10 June 2020. Inspector Emily Stodart said:- "It's certainly not something you see every day! When we got there, we found he had been making his way through a few gardens before stopping at the bus stop!" Officers caught him and took him to a nearby yard for boarding.

7. Everybody needs good neigh-bours!

A stallion needed a helping hand after getting stuck on a gate while trying to reach his neigh-bours! A walker spotted the stricken horse with the front of his body on one side of the gate and his back legs on the other. Rescuer Jack Curran was called to the paddock in Loughborough, Leicestershire, on 24 June 2020. He managed to track down the pony's owner and, together, they helped him over the gate and led him back into his own field.

8. That's nuts!

When a man heard scrabbling in his kitchen, on 30 September 2020 he was shocked to find a SQUIRREL stuck in the back of his fridge. Inspector Emily Buckett was called to the house in Wimbledon, London, to help the stricken rodent. She said:- "We moved the fridge outside and unscrewed the back. The squirrel was bright and uninjured, as soon as we removed the back he popped out and dashed off, very pleased to be free!"

Just to add, the grey squirrel; which is considered an alien invasive species; cannot legally be released back into the wild if taken into care for rehabilitation or treatment. They can only be legally released in situ, as was the case here.

9. Grate rescue!

A little frog needed help after getting stuck in a drain cover in the Wirral, Merseyside. RSPCA inspector Leanne Cragg was called to Greasby, on 8 September 2020, after a woman found the frog stuck in the grate. She said:- "When I arrived, his whole body was wedged tight with his back legs stuck in the drain. I've heard of toad in the hole, but this is my 1st frog in a drain!" She couldn't wriggle him free and didn't want to hurt him so took him to the local Fire Station where officers cut him free and Leanne returned him to the pond to join his froggy friends.

10. Outfoxed!

A foiled fox was freed from a fix after he was discovered with his head stuck in a wheelchair lift in Oxford. RSPCA Inspector Andy Eddy was called out to help the frightened fox, on 13 September 2020. He said:- "The poor fox was distressed and exhausted from struggling to escape with no success. I think he must have tried to jump up through a glass plate to the top level and bounced back and had fallen with his head down the edge of the side rail." He carefully lifted him out and took him to a local wildlife Hospital for treatment for a swollen throat before being released back into the wild.

11. Sssssssurprise!

A gas meter reader was in for an unexpected sssssssurprise after finding a snake wrapped around the pipes in a meter box in Gosport, Hampshire. The shocked worker contacted the RSPCA, on 25 November 2020, and inspector Hannah Nixon went to lend a helping hand. The corn snake, believed to be an escaped pet, was taken to a specialist centre, where he was cared for while officers tried to trace an owner.

12. Wheely stuck!

An RSPCA rescuer had to get clever to rescue a rat which had got stuck inside a car wheel! Inspector Jaqui Miller was called to Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, on 24 July 2020 to the stricken rat. She jacked up the car and used a towel to push up one side of the coil in order to create some space and grab the rat. Jaqui said:- "She wasn't happy about that at all... But luckily she wasn't injured so I was able to free her there and then and she scurried back off to safety."

13. Owl did you get there?

A tawny owl needed help after getting stuck inside a fireplace! RSPCA inspector Lauren Bailey was called to a home in Ewelme, Oxfordshire, on 25 April 2020 after a family heard noises coming from their chimney. She said:- "The family had been hearing noises from the chimney and fireplace for a few days but had no idea there was a bird trapped inside until he fell all the way to the bottom. The 1st they realised was when they saw him peering out through the fireguard; he had his feet up against the grill like he was waving and asking for help!" Lauren removed the grill, caught the bird and took him to a wildlife Hospital to recover from his ordeal.

14. Badger gets a bum deal!

A badger needed a bit of help after getting his bottom wedged in a garden fence in Goddington, Kent. A concerned householder called the RSPCA for help, on 12 November 2020 after realising the wild animal was stuck fast in his fence. Chief Inspector Mark Miles said:- "This poor badger was completely jammed in that fence and going nowhere! It looks as if he was trying to get from 1 garden to the next via the hole in the fence, but had misjudged the width of his backside." He wasn't injured so they widened the gap, wiggled him free and set him loose.

15. Feeling sheepish

A ewe was feeling rather sheepish after getting stuck in an embaa-rassing position in a metal feeder. Rescuer Emily Welch was called to the field, on the outskirts of Richmond, Surrey, on 26 February 2020, after a passerby spotted the sheep's predicament! She said:- "I suspect she was being a little greedy and pushed through the rest of the flock to get to the tasty hay and got herself trapped. She was trying to move forwards out of the railings but her back end was too wide so I climbed into the hay rack and managed to carefully push her out backwards. Thankfully she wasn't injured; just a feeling a little embaa-rassed; and she scarpered off to join the rest of her flock."

16. Twit-twoo!

A tawny owl felt like a right twit-twoo after getting stuck between glass doors and a Juliet balcony. RSPCA inspector Gemma Fowler was called to the home, in Bradford, West Yorkshire, on H-owl-oween after the residents spotted the beautiful bird in a fix. Thankfully, it was a straightforward rescue and the owl wasn't injured so Gemma lifted him out of the gap and released him off of the balcony and back into the night.

17. In a bit of a prickle!

A greedy hedgehog ended up in a prickle after crawling inside a discarded bird feeder in search of food; and getting stuck. RSPCA inspector Tony Woodley went to Horsham, West Sussex, to help the poor hog, on 10 April 2020. He cut the wire, received a section of the feeder, peeled it back and he was able to squeeze out and wander back into the undergrowth.

18. Oh deer!

An RSPCA officer used washing up liquid to rescue a muntjac deer trapped in a metal gate in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, on 26 February 2020. Catherine Strawford found the frightened deer surrounded by dried blood and covered in cuts and grazes from struggling to free himself. She poured washing up liquid over him and carefully squeezed him free, checked him over and released him.

As an added note, the muntjac deer; which is considered an alien invasive species; cannot legally be released back into the wild if taken into care for rehabilitation or treatment. They can only be legally released in situ; as was the case here.

19. Podge-hog!

A podgy hedgehog had to be 'chiselled' out of a tiny gap where he'd got stuck between a tree and a concrete pillar, in Blackpool, Lancashire. RSPCA inspector Will Lamping was called to the garden on 17 July 2020 after a woman was alerted to his plight by her dog. He said:- "He was on his side so he'd clearly tried to push through the tiny gap and got stuck fast." The landlord was a joiner so we helped him chisel away at the tree to widen the gap and carefully lift the hog out. Nicknamed Sonic, by the caller, he was taken to a vet for a check up and released back into the garden a few days later.

20. In a spin

A couple had a ssssshock when they went to fix their faulty tumble dryer and found a 4ft snake hiding behind it! The Royal Python was found in the utility room of their Southport home, in Merseyside, on 20 December 2020. RSPCA officer David Hatton went to collect the snake who said:- "I'm not sure how he managed to get into the utility rooms but was probably attracted to the warmth of the dryer." The snake; believed to be an escaped pet; is now being cared for by the charity.

If you find an animal in need of help, please contact the RSPCA's emergency hotline on:- 03001234999 for advice. 

The RSPCA responds to more than 1 million calls every year and rescues more than 100,000 animals in need. To help the charity rescue more animals like these, please donate by visiting:- RSPCA.Org.UK/Give

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