The Scottish SPCA name their most unusual rescues of 2018

From foxes to porpoises and a lizard which turned out to be an ornament, the Scottish SPCA was involved in some unusual rescues in 2018.

RaccoonOfficers from Scotland’s animal welfare charity also helped to rescue a non-native raccoon, a beach ball-sized hedgehog and an adventurous tortoise during an eventful twelve months.

Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said, “2018 was a very busy year for us in terms of rescuing, rehoming and releasing animals back into the wild.

“Our National Wildlife Centre at Fishcross had its busiest ever year, releasing over 5000 animals.

“We deal with a lot of cases of neglect and mistreatment but as we cater for domestic, farm and wildlife creatures, we do also come across situations you wouldn’t expect.

“Most recently we rescued a raccoon which was very unusual as they are a non-native species and a female black seal pup, possibly the first ever to come into our care.”

Here is a selection of our unique rescues of 2018.

Frog hops from South Africa to Scotland

A continent-jumping African clawed frog hopped his way over to Scotland from South Africa in a suitcase!

We were alerted on 6 March when the frog was discovered by surprised holiday goers in Edinburgh.

The frog, which was roughly the size of a jam tart, was taken to our centre in Balerno where he was named Terrence.  We reckon he jumped into the caller’s suitcase whilst packing. Terrence found his forever home at the Butterfly and Insect World in Edinburgh.

Surprise porpoise in Grangemouth

We worked with the British Divers Marine Life Rescue group to help a stranded porpoise to deeper waters.

A female porpoise was rescued in April after becoming stranded in Grange burn, Grangemouth. With the tide having gone out, wet towels were laid on the porpoise as she was moved to deeper water at Blackness.

It is likely the porpoise became disorientated and got caught out by the changing tides. 

Local Leithers help with swan

Two Leith locals kindly took our animal rescue officers out on their boat to aid a swan with a baseball cap tangled around its foot at The Shore.

Eventually, officers managed to catch the swan and remove the cap. She then returned to her partner, nest and eggs.

Zepplin the beach-ball sized hedgehog

unusualThe National Wildlife Centre spent over six months looking after a beach-ball sized hedgehog suffering from ‘balloon syndrome’.

We named him Zepplin as this burly chap had a circumference of 30 inches. We suspect he was clipped by a car which led to a punctured lung and air getting trapped under his skin.

After a lengthy recovery period, Zepplin was released in to the wild in the Perthshire area.

Adventurous tortoise reunited with owner

A wandering tortoise was discovered in a shed behind Grewar’s Farm Shop in Dundee.

Named Moira, there were concerns this girl had been in the shed for some time but she was not short of tasty snacks to enjoy!

She was treated at our local animal rescue and rehoming centre and reunited with her delighted owner after posters were popped up.

Hanging and hooked – the inured bat

In mid-July we helped to rescue a bat with a fishing hook through its face in Carluke. He was caught up on the fishing line and hanging from a tree.

This poor fellow defied expectation with how quickly he came back to life after the hook was removed. After a quick check-up, he was back on his wings in no time and made a full recovery.

Fly budgie found in car engine

Budgie discovered in the engine of a van!

The bird flew into the radiator of a van in Denny, Falkirk and was taken to our rescue and rehoming centre in Balerno. We named the budgie Twiddle and after nobody came forward to claim him, he was put up for rehoming and is now happily in his forever home.

Raccoon goes native in Libberton

Rumours of a racoon had been rife in the Libberton area after it was spotted on security camera footage earlier in 2018. In November, a member of the public alerted us to her presence.

With raccoons being non-native species, it is believed she was a pet released into the wild. She is now in the care of our Lanarkshire animal rescue and rehoming centre. Staff are currently considering the best place for her.

From big seals to black seals

A seal pup weighing a whopping 45.3kg was rescued at Dunglass beach in the Borders in November. Rescuing such a heavy pup proved difficult but she has since been released back in to the wild after making a full recovery at our National Wildlife Centre in Fishcross.

All seals at the centre have been given Harry Potter themed names and this big girl was dubbed Hermione. One of her fellow residents at Fishcross was Narcissa, a rare black seal pup. We believe Narcissa was the first black female seal to come in to the charity’s care.

Narcissa is doing well and it is hoped she will be released back in to the wild soon.

Fox rescued from watering can

Back in May, one of our animal rescue officers helped a poor fox with her head stuck in a watering can. Since the animal’s view was obstructed by the watering can, we were able to get up close and dislodge her head. Apart from being a little bit shaken up, the fox seemed unfazed by her predicament.

And finally…

The lizard camouflaged as an ornament!

A concerned citizen found a lizard inside her cat shelter, only to discover it was an ornamental otter!   

This member of the public had an outdoor shelter with bed and food in her garden for her outdoors cat. When she went to check the shelter one day she spotted the ‘lizard’ and got a fright.

We went to the scene to check and were surprised to find an ornamental otter, which was suspected to have  been placed there as a prank.




Scottish SPCA Wildlife Assistant with deer fawns

Wildlife rescue

Every year the Scottish SPCA rescues thousands of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife.

In 2017 we cared for over 9,600 wild animals - a new record!

We help every kind of wild animal in Scotland and are the only national animal welfare charity which rescues birds.

Find out more about our wildlife rescue work.