A greedy squirrel looking for Christmas nuts had to be rescued by the RSPCA after getting his chunky body wedged in a bird feeder in Scunthorpe.
RSPCA animal rescue inspector Claire Mitchell has been called to a garden in Lime Grove after the resident had spotted the stricken squirrel.
The squirrel had managed to get inside a bird feeder head first searching for a feast of nuts. Unfortunately, the crafty critter was unable to get back out.
He was left in the undignified position with his body wedged in the top of the feeder, with just his feet dangling from the bottom. In his eagerness to escape the feeder ended up on the floor, and a resident called the RSPCA for help.
The grey squirrel is considered an invasive alien species, which 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 in this situation.
Claire said: “This greedy boy must have gone in and obviously had such a good feed on his Christmas nuts he was unable to exit.
“His legs were just dangling out of the feeder which reminded me of Santa stuck in a chimney! Luckily his predicament was spotted by the residents who alerted us or he could have endured prolonged suffering.
“He was obviously frightened but otherwise appeared unscathed from his ordeal – however he probably needs to lay off the nuts for a while!
“I freed him in situ, as we’re legally allowed to do, by giving him a good pull and as soon as he was free he made a quick getaway – which was good to see.”
The RSPCA is urging people to keep an eye on all wildlife feeders in their garden to make sure animals do not get stuck or injured.
Claire added: “There are many types of ‘squirrel-proof’ feeders available but it seems that a few could still trap wildlife.
“I would urge people who have them to check their feeders regularly to look out for any trapped wildlife and if you are going on holiday take them down.
“Alternatively use non-squirrel proof feeders which may attract other wildlife but at least it will prevent animals like squirrels getting trapped.”
Anyone who encounters a squirrel caught in a bird feeder should not try to free the animal on their own, and should instead monitor the situation and call the RSPCA emergency line on 0300 1234 999.