RSPCA: Most 'weird and wonderful' animal rescues of 2022

  • In Science
  • 2023-01-01 08:21:21Z
  • By BBC

A frog that travelled 4,000 miles (6,400km) in a bunch of bananas was among one of the strangest animal rescues of the year, according to the RSPCA.

In 2022, its officers responded to some "weird and wonderful" animal rescues.

The charity was called to thousands of incidents where birds, wildlife, pets and farm animals found themselves in tricky spots.

The RSPCA said it was an "honour" to lend a helping hand to animals in need.

One of the first to be rescued in 2022 was Nacho, a six-month-old seal pup who appeared next to a riverbank by the Old Lock & Weird Inn in Keynsham, Bristol, on 2 January.

"The River Avon runs from the coast all the way along through Keynsham where the pub is situated at the water's edge, so it's likely he found his way there swimming upstream from the coast," said RSPCA wildlife supervisor Paul Oaten.

Two days later, on 4 January, a fellow seal pup was found on a cliff in Weybourne, Norfolk, 50ft (15m) from the beach next to a brick wartime pillbox.

"I was quite surprised to find this seal so far up - he must have just taken a wrong turn and then followed the coastal path before ending up on the cliff edge," said the RSPCA's Amy Pellegrini, who took the pup down to a safe spot on the nearby beach.

The RSPCA responded to several incidents of foxes getting their heads stuck, including an incident in February where a vixen became trapped in a watering can in Colchester, Essex.

Later that month, a fox was found with a large tin can of dog food in Barking, London.

RSPCA inspector Dale Grant said it proved "how dangerous litter can be".

In London, several foxes were rescued in the space of a month after getting their heads stuck in the central hole of tyres, including a cub which had found its way into a shed in Orpington.

"The residents had also discovered his sister in the shed, anxiously watching her brother," explained rescuer Rodney Kenny of the incident in April.

Mr Kenny said there was "no time to spare" as it was likely the fox had been stuck for several days without food or water, but it was quickly extracted with soapy water and both cubs were taken in to care.

In July, customers eating at a McDonald's in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, found a 5ft (1.52m) boa constrictor slithering through the fast food restaurant.

The non-venomous snake was passed on to staff, who placed it in a box before it was collected by the RSPCA.

In August, rescuers used barbecue tongs to pull a hedgehog free from an open drain in Hull, East Yorkshire.

"It was great teamwork... it involved a little bit of gentle persuasion and the use of some BBQ tongs to carefully ease him out of the drain," said the RSPCA's Gary Cotton, who checked the hedgehog over with fellow rescuer Laura Barber before releasing it back into the wild.

In September, fire crews were called to help another hedgehog, after it tumbled 25ft (7.62m) into an historic ice house on The Dawnay Estates near Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

"The deep well was dug and used to store ice during the summer in the 1800s and, while no longer used, has been preserved for visitors," said Insp Thomas Hutton, who was called to help.

The RSPCA was called in September after a Hispaniolan common tree frog travelled 4,300 miles (6,920km) from the Dominican Republic to the UK in a bunch of bananas.

"We were unpacking the shopping in the kitchen and my wife turned to me and said 'look there's a frog in the bananas' and I said 'sorry, there's a what in the bananas?'," said Iain Holloway from Tamworth, Staffordshire.

Rescuer Jonny Wood said the frog was in good condition, despite its long journey.

In Newcastle, a small finch flew through the open window of a Next store on 13 November, and was finally caught two days later.

"She just couldn't fly back out and was flitting around the displays over three floors," said rescuer Rachael Hurst.

"No doubt the bright decorations in the Christmas displays attracted her and at one stage she'd landed on top of a tree and seemed very happy to stay there too."

RSPCA inspectorate commissioner Dermot Murphy said: "With our teams out rescuing animals from danger and suffering 365 days a year, we are often their only hope.

"It's an honour to be able to lend a hand to animals in desperate need and we hope people enjoy seeing some of the weird and wonderful places animals have found themselves in need of our help."

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