IN PICTURES: Four-hour rescue mission to free large hedgehogs stuck down water meter pipe in Luton
The two creatures had somehow fallen down a hole and got fully wedged in
The RSPCA was called to rescue two large hedgehogs who managed to get themselves well and truly stuck down a water meter hole in Luton.
The rescue, which was expected to be short and sweet, ended up lasting four hours and required the help of engineers from Affinity Water.
The drama unfolded in Wigmore after the two hedgehogs were found wedged down the 2ft pipe - which contained a water meter at the bottom.
Inspector Stephen Reeves attended and initially thought it would be a case of just scooping the hedgehogs out.
But when he arrived it turned out the hogs were bigger than the 18cm diameter pipe they were stuck in - making the job all the more difficult.
Stephen managed to get the first hedgehog, who was wedged slightly higher up the pipe.
But the second hedgehog - was further down the pipe and was stuck under the water meter and the pipe connecting it.
No matter how hard Stephen tried he couldn’t get the hedgehog out, so he called engineers from Affinity to help in the rescue on Tuesday, May 26.
In the end the engineers had to resort to digging down next to the pipe and cutting parts of it bit by bit in order to get the remaining hedgehog out.
Stephen said: “On paper this should have been a ten minute rescue - but it ended up taking four hours and resulted in pipes and concrete being dug out in order to get to the hedgehogs.
“I cannot thank Gareth Edwards, a customer service technician with Affinity Water and Robbie Watts, a repair and maintenance contractor with CLC, enough. They were fantastic in making it accessible for me to reach the second hedgehog and every time they faced another unexpected problem they just carried on.”
Gareth said: “It’s novel for us at Affinity Water to be asked by the RSPCA to rescue a hedgehog stuck in a pipe. It’s good to know they are both now well.”
Stephen added: “I’m really pleased we were able to save these two hedgehogs - they were both boys and to be honest it is still a bit of a mystery as to how they managed to get themselves in that predicament, as the hole had been covered with a plastic lid!
“They were both cold, hungry and dehydrated and so I took them to a vets - where they were able to recover for a few days. They were both released back to the wild this week after a kind member of the public gave permission to release them in their garden.
“These two were extremely large hedgehogs - some of the biggest I have seen for a while - and had they not been quite so big - I don’t think the rescue would have been quite as difficult as it was!”
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit their website or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181.