Squirrels stuck in bird feeders and a lizard that has traveled thousands of miles in a bra are among the most bizarre rescue missions the RSPCA has embarked on this year.
The UK animal welfare organization said it responded to around 281,390 incidents through its emergency rescue hotline in 2021, but announced that some rescues were stranger than others.
In Ashford, Kent, a well-fed red-pawed squirrel was caught after getting stuck in a bird feeder in August.
The “cheeky” squirrel was unharmed and even nibbled stray peanuts as rescuer Claire Thomas worked to free him.
Even celebrities had reason to call the hotline this year as Coronation Street star Harry Visinoni had an uninvited visit to his home in Hale, Greater Manchester.
The actor, who plays Seb Franklin in Soap, called the RSPCA in January after a snake slipped out of his toilet and hid in his bathroom for the night.
Two days later, an elderly woman had a happy escape after a swan crashed through a double-glazed window in her bathroom in Barton in Fabis, Nottinghamshire.
After finding the bloody bird dazed and confused on her bathroom floor, the woman called the RSPCA, which had surgery on the swan before moving it to the Stapeley Grange Wildlife Center in Cheshire.
In February, a pair of badgers had to be rescued after being trapped on a ladder that descends into the Monmouthshire and Brecon canals in Cwmbran, Wales.
RSPCA animal rescuers Sian Burton and David Milborrow worked with firefighters to abseil down the canal wall and grab the badgers, with nets down as a precaution in case they fall.
“This was, without a doubt, the bizarre, most unusual day of my 15 years on the animal frontline,” said Burton.
A badger in Guildford, Surrey had to be rescued using special power tools after it got stuck in a two-foot compost bin in search of food in November.
Meanwhile, in July, a motorist in Plymouth had a surprise when he spotted a large Tegu lizard maneuvering under his car’s engine.
The rescuers waited patiently for two hours until the exotic lizard, which can be over a meter long, could be removed through a tiny gap under the wheel arch.
The Tegu wasn’t the only lizard to find itself in an unusual place. Stunned Folkestone Harbor, Kent residents discovered an iguana in September that was sunbathing on the roof of a row house.
The escaped pet was rescued and safely reunited with its owners by RSPCA inspector David Grant with the help of Kent firefighters.
That same month, a lingerie-loving lizard traveled more than 4,000 miles in a women’s bra from sunny Barbados to Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
Lisa Russell discovered the tiny gecko after falling out of a bra while unpacking her suitcase after her vacation.
“I thought it was a tiny dead creature and when it moved I started screaming … I managed to put it safely in a box and then called the RSPCA,” she said.
Meanwhile, in Banbury, Oxfordshire, in August, a “rather chunky” hedgehog had to be rescued after falling into an open drain and wedging itself in a narrow pipe.
Fortunately, the “fat” hedgehog was unharmed and pulled out with a clothes hanger and released back into the undergrowth.
That same month, a stallion desperate to visit his neighbors got into an embarrassing position and got stuck halfway over a gate in Rochester, Kent.
The horse had to be hoisted back into its paddock with the help of the Kent Fire & Rescue Service.
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