The prickly problem of a hedgehog wedged down a metal shaft has been successfully solved by the RSPCA.
The tiny creature had crawled two feet down a hollow pipe used for locking parking bollards into place in Leven Walk, Bedford.
But he got wedged under a metal crossbar and was firmly stuck.
Inspector Alex Coghlan was called to the scene after a woman spotted the hedgehog’s plight.
“It was impossible to pull him out. He really had got himself in a right pickle,” she said.
“He must have been snuffling around the evening before and fell into the hollow pipe.”
Alex called out Beds Fire and Rescue Service whose firefighters carefully cut out the cross bar.
“He was so tightly wedged that even with that removed it still took us ages to ease him out,” she said.
After 90 minutes, the hedgehog was finally freed and didn’t appear injured by his ordeal.
“He was eating and drinking well so, at dusk, I went to release him nearby but he didn’t move and sat curled up in the dirt,” said Alex.
“This was a little worrying so I arranged for him to be transferred to RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre, in Norfolk, for a full check-up.”
The hedgehog has now been examined by a wildlife vet and seems to be in good health. He has some slight fur loss around his face but is eating well.
The plan is to monitor him and release him back to the wild when he is strong enough.
If you find an injured wild animal or bird, contact a vet or wildlife rehabilitator. If the animal needs rescuing the contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.