The most ‘weird and wonderful’ animal rescues of 2022

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

In 2022, its officers responded to several “strange and wonderful” animal rescues.

The charity has been called to thousands of incidents where birds, wildlife, pets and farm animals have been placed in difficult places.

The RSPCA said it was an “honour” to help animals in need.

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

“The River Avon runs from the coast all the way through Keynsham, where the pub is on the water’s edge, so it probably got there by going upstream from the coast,” said Paul Oaten, RSPCA Wildlife Manager.

Two days later, on January 4, another seal pup was found on a cliff in Weybourne, Norfolk, 15 meters from the beach next to a brick wartime bunker.

“I was very surprised to find this seal so high – it must have just taken a wrong turn and then followed the coastline before landing on the cliff’s edge,” said Amy Pellegrini from the RSPCA, who took the pup to safety on a nearby beach.

The RSPCA responded to several incidents where foxes got stuck in their heads, including an incident in February when a fox was trapped in a watering can in Colchester, Essex.

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

RSPCA inspector Dale Grant said he had proven “how dangerous litter can be”.

In London, several foxes were rescued within a month after their heads became stuck in the center hole of a tyre, including a cub that found its way to a shed in Orpington.

“Residents also discovered his sister in the shed, watching her brother with concern,” rescuer Rodney Kenny explained of the incident in April.

Mr. Kenny said there was “no time to lose” as the fox was likely stuck for several days without food or water, but was quickly extricated with soap and water and both cubs taken into care.

In July, customers at a McDonald’s restaurant in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, found a 1.52-metre long boa constrictor crawling around a fast food restaurant.

The non-venomous snake was handed over 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 out of an open drain in Hull, east Yorkshire.

“It was great teamwork… it took a bit of gentle persuasion and the use of a couple of barbecue tongs to carefully pull it out of the drains,” said Gary Cotton of the RSPCA, who checked the hedgehog with fellow rescuer Laura Barber before releasing it back into the wild.

In September, the fire brigade was called to the rescue of another hedgehog that had fallen 25 feet (7.62 m) into a historic icehouse at the Dawnay Estates near Scarborough in North Yorkshire.

“The deep well was dug and used to store ice in the summer in the 19th century and, although no longer in use, has been preserved for visitors,” said inspector Thomas Hutton, who was called in to help.

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

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

Lifeguard Jonny Wood said the frog was in good shape despite the long journey.

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

“She just couldn’t fly away and was flying around the displays on three floors,” said lifeguard Rachael Hurst.

“She was no doubt drawn to the bright decorations in the Christmas windows, and at one point she landed on top of the tree and seemed very happy to stay there too.”

RSPCA Inspectorate Commissioner Dermot Murphy said: “As our teams rescue animals from danger and suffering 365 days a year, we are often their only hope.

“It’s an honor to be able to help animals in desperate need and we hope people enjoy seeing some of the strange and wonderful places where animals need our help.”

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