Search icon


01st Jan 2023

RSPCA’s wackiest rescues of 2022 – including snake at McDonald’s and seal which swam 300 miles to pub

Steve Hopkins

The rescues included a seagull left hanging upside-down from a telephone line

The RSPCA has revealed the wackiest animal rescues of 2022 – including a boa constrictor at McDonald’s and a seal which swam 300 miles to a pub.

Hilarious pictures show hapless pets and wild animals trapped in bizarre places before being freed by baffled rescuers.

The charity has compiled 59 of the oddest rescues of 2022, with the weirdest being a starving seal pup that slithered into a Bristol pub.

Stunned staff at the Old Lock & Weir spotted the underweight animal in their courtyard behind a stack of beer barrels.

Its tag said the seal had travelled from Scotland to the English boozer – arriving on January 2.

The inn is 300 miles from the Scottish border where it was last monitored.

Wildlife supervisor Paul Oaten said: “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.”

Throughout the year, the RSPCA has received nearly 300,000 reports of trapped animals – one of the charity’s busiest ever years.

A not-so-cunning fox found himself in a spot of bother after he slipped over garden furniture and got his leg stuck between the slats in Ealing, West London, on January 3.

On January 4, a seal pup needed saving after getting stranded on top of a cliff 50ft above a beach in Weybourne, Norfolk.

RSPCA rescuer Amy Pellegrini said: “He must have just taken a wrong turn and then followed the coastal path before ending up on the cliff edge.”

Meanwhile in the city, commuters were shocked to find a tarantula on a train arriving into London Bridge train station on January 7.

Another stunned Londoner also had a fright when a sugar glider flew into his bedroom and woke him up.

John Zou, 27, was asleep when he heard something scampering around his bedroom in his sixth-floor flat in Holborn at 5am on January 10.

In North Wales, rescuers abseiled 100ft down a cliff to rescue a sheep which was trapped on a narrow ledge.

The animal had tumbled down the cliff in Great Orme after being chased by a dog on January 21.

B&Q staff raised the alarm after they found a fox curled up asleep on a doormat in the Peckham store in London on January 22.

Rescuer Chloe Wilson attended to help: “He looked very cute all curled up on a doormat down one of the shopping aisles.”

In Bishop Auckland, County Durham, rescuers dismantled a dry stone wall to save a cat which was trapped after it tried to crawl through a tiny gap.

The animal charity was called out in London on February 2 after a fox managed to get a tin of dog food stuck on its head in the appropriately-named suburb of Barking.

A stricken vixen also needed help in Colchester, Essex, when it got its head trapped inside a watering can on February 11.

RSPCA rescuer Natalie Read managed to remove the can before releasing the shocked animal back into the wild.

She said: “The caller said the poor fox had the plastic watering can stuck on her head and was thrashing around trying to get it off. She was clearly distressed.”

A bodging badger needed a helping hand after getting stuck in a narrow gap between a wall and a fence at a house in Reepham, Norfolk.

Rescuers from the RSPCA and London Fire Service came to the aid of a fox who got its head and leg stuck through the metal base of a chair in a Streatham garden in south London on March 3.

RSPCA Inspector Lynn Serrano said: “We’re not sure how it happened but the wicker chair was upside down and the fox had his head and leg stuck through the metal pieces at the base of the chair and the top of the chair legs.”

A ewe was feeling a little sheepish after getting tangled in a rose bush in a field in Grantham, Lincolnshire.

A muntjac deer was left hanging helplessly upside down after getting tangled in chicken wire in woodland in Addlestone, Surrey.

A hedgehog got stuck in a vertical groundpipe and needed to be rescued by the RSPCA and fire crews on Isle of Sheppey Holiday Village in Leysdown-on-Sea, Kent, on April 9.

Homeowners in Birmingham had a surprise when they went to investigate a noise and found a cat giving birth to a litter of kittens in the guttering above their conservatory on April 12.

A fox cub needed rescuing after getting his head wedged in a car wheel after sneaking into a shed in Orpington, London.

A hungry badger got stuck in a skip in Cawood, North Yorkshire, while searching for food on April 22.

An eight-strong team of rescuers saved a stranded sheep which was trapped on a cliff ledge 50ft above the ground in Kingsbridge, Devon.

RSPCA chief inspector Richard Abbott said: “She was hopelessly stranded.

“Our very patient rescue team accessed the ewe by abseiling down the cliff; and over several hours were able to guide her to higher points, before she was caught and guided to a nearby field.”

A seagull which was hanging upside-down from a telephone line in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, had to be zip-wired to freedom.

The bird’s feet had been pierced by a fishing lure which then snagged onto the wire while he was flying leaving it suspended 30ft above a car park.

An RSPCA rescuer found himself up to his neck in mud to rescue a lamb who was trapped down a hole in the Peak District near Glossop, Derbyshire.

A mother duck got in a flap when she laid her eggs on the roof of a shopping centre of the Friary Shopping Centre in Guildford, Surrey.

It took rescuers a week to reach a trapped cat who got stuck down a 12ft void in a care home. Visitors to the home in Norwich first heard the cat’s meows on June 13 and raised the alarm.

RSPCA inspector Jason Finch said it was the “craziest” rescue he had ever done in his 22-year career.

A greedy sheep got stuck between the bars of a metal field feeding station in Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester.

Meanwhile, a porky hedgehog needed help when it got wedged in a metal gate in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, on June 26.

Another fox got his head stuck in a discarded plastic bottle when passersby spotted the animal in distress in Willesden, London.

A barn owl needed help after getting tangled by his talons on a TV aerial on a house in Bentilee, Staffordshire

A woman had a fright after finding a corn snake in the drainpipe of her Merseyside home.

Meanwhile homeowner Aclas Ighodaro “jumped and screamed” when he found a snake in his wheelie bin at his home in Stoke-on-Trent on July 7.

A tawny owl needed a helping hand after getting trapped in a slurry pit in near Fowey, in Cornwall. A cat used one of his nine lives after getting trapped in a gate by his back leg in Wrexham, Wales.

Locals were shocked after spotting a 5ft-long boa constrictor slithering outside McDonald’s in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, on July 31.

A toad was rescued after it was trapped between two decking boards in Willenhall, West Midlands.

A lamb found himself up to his neck in it – literally – after getting stuck in a muddy pond near Middlesborough on August 7.

RSPCA officers used BBQ tongs to carefully free a hedgehog from a drain in Hull, East Yorks. A fox is on the road to recovery after becoming tow-tally stuck in the connection wires of a livestock trailer in Bristol.

Two bird-brained pigeons got stuck inside a large pipe in a factory in Nottingham.

A silly fox ended up in a fix when he got his head stuck in a tiny gap between two walls in Acton, London.

A hedgehog needed a helping hand after getting trapped in a drain pipe bend in Bridgwater, Somerset. A fox decided to move into a vacant flat that was on the market and made herself at home in the loft of the property in Battersea, London.

A hedgehog needed a helping hand after tumbling 25ft into an historic ice house on The Dawnay Estates near Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

A sheep was rescued by brave RSPCA officers after being stuck on Conwy Mountain, North Wales, for four days.

A Hispaniolan common tree frog has made a 4,300-mile journey across the Atlantic from its home in the Dominican Republic in a bunch of bananas. RSPCA rescuer Liz Wheeler came to the aid of a fox who got herself trapped by her back leg in a garden gate in Sevenoaks, Kent.

A greedy rat ended up in a spot of bother after he got wedged after scoffing seeds inside a bird feeder.

A Labrador needed help after falling into a 3m-deep sewer in Holbury.

A woman was in for a shock when she woke up to find a 3ft-long snake slithering in through her open bedroom window in Basildon, Essex.

A badger needed a helping hand after falling into an uncovered drain in Richmond, London. An eel was rescued after it was dropped by a bird flying overhead and landed by the back door of a house in Plymouth on November 8.

RSPCA Inspector Sarah Morris said: “How it got there is a mystery but the most likely reason would have been that it was dropped there by a heron or other such bird.”

A badger found himself in at the deep end when he got stuck in an empty swimming pool at a home in Sandwich, Kent.

RSPCA officers came to the rescue of a little finch who moved into a Next store in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and took up residency among the Christmas displays last month.

Related links: