Little Raccoon Gets Rescued From Very Embarrassing Situation
Poor Walter just wanted to get out of his sewer - but ended up in quite a predicament.
Volunteers with the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at the Wisconsin Humane Society received several calls on Wednesday morning alerting them to a trapped raccoon. When they rushed to the scene, they found the frightened animal in a very sad state.
Little Walter, as he was later named, had tried to climb out of the sewer through a grate in the pavement. While raccoons usually travel in and out through curb gutters, this entrance was covered with a square grate - and poor Walter had his head stuck.
"Every year we get at least two or three raccoons with their heads stuck like this; it's this particular style of grate that does it," Scott Diehl, director of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, told The Dodo. He added that the pointed shape of a raccoon's head makes it easy for the curious creatures to get stuck in things: "It's like an arrow that is not very easy to pull out once it goes past a certain point."
Walter had likely been hanging there all night, but fortunately some kind passerby had found an A-frame road sign and placed it next to Walter to keep him safe. And while the little fellow's head was stuck above the ground, a lucky ledge by his feet kept him from hanging.
The raccoon was also understandably petrified - an untrapped raccoon would have been in bed hours ago, and he didn't appreciate the rescuers approaching him when he was stuck. "We were within his personal sphere," Diehl said. "He would normally have run away from people before they got anywhere that close."
And that fear made freeing Walter, who was born just this past spring, rather difficult. "He was very tired but still had enough gumption in him to struggle," Diehl said. "He was so tense, struggling and very, very frightened, that we weren't able to get his head worked out of the hole without his struggling."
Eventually, rescuers decided to give Walter a nice dose of sedatives, which calmed him enough to let Diehl - still clad in protective gloves, of course - wiggle his head out of the grate.
Miraculously, Walter sustained no physical injuries from his misadventure, but was very tired. The rescue team took him back to the wildlife center, where they let him sleep off his adventure so that he could be monitored for a few hours.
Of course, being a racoon, Walter wasn't the nicest house guest - but his behavior showed rescuers he was none the worse for wear.
"He did what raccoons normally do in housing overnight," Diehl said. "He ate every scrap of his food and flipped his water bottle over and shredded up his newspaper for bedding and tipped things over and made a royal mess of things. But that's typical for racoons."
Taking Walter's feistiness as a good sign, his rescuers gave him what he wanted and released him last night into the wild. Hopefully next time he ventures into the sewer, he'll find an easier means of egress.
Here's a video of Walter trapped in the grate - it's guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings. If you'd like to support rescues like this one, you can make a donation to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center here.