Scottish animal charity reveal their weird and wonderful rescue missions of 2019

From a hidden tarantula to a snake on a plane the SSPCA were kept busy last year with some extraordinary animal rescue requests.

A snake was found in a woman's handbag when she landed in Scotland after her trip to Australia    picture: SSPCA
A snake was found in a woman's handbag when she landed in Scotland after her trip to Australia picture: SSPCA

One resident spotted an young otter on the pavement in Inverurie in November last year.

Inspector Amanda Watson took the pup to the National Wildlife Rescue Centre where he will stay until he is old enough to spend time on his own in the wild.

Amanda said: "It was the most adorable encounter I've had on a Monday morning in a long time."

The otter was found walking down a street in Inverurie picture: SSPCA

In February last year a woman in Bridge of Allan found a stowaway snake in her suitcase after her holiday to Australia.

The snake, a spotted python, had slithered into the luggage and journeyed for more than 20 hours on a plane and ended up in Stirling.

Animal rescue officer Taylor Johnstone responded to a call from the woman and came to rescue it.

The serpent was taken to our Edinburgh Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre and was then transported to the National Centre for Reptile Welfare at Hadlow College in Kent. He is now part of the teaching programme and helps students with their snake handling.

A cockatiel was found hiding in a McDonald's cup and taken to the SSPCA's Glasgow centre to recuperate picture: SSPCA

A cockatiel was found taking refuge in a McDonald’s cup as he was being attacked by a group of magpies.

Senior animal rescue officer Jan Toraman answered a call from a member of the public who reported the cockatiel, named McDonald after his experience.

Jan took the bird to the SSPCA centre in Glasgow to recuperate and has now been rehomed.

An eagle owl was spotted in Airdrie and reported to the SSPCA. The species is rare and not native to Scotland. After being taken into care it went on to live with a falconer.

A rare eagle owl was found in the back of a shed in a resident's garden picture: SSPCA

A seal pup was found stranded in a car park in Greenock in November last year.

The pup had managed to get up the harbour steps, along the promenade and into the car park.

Senior animal rescue officer Jan Toraman said: "The fact the seal managed to negotiate these obstacles was incredible.

"The pup was very young, aged between two and three weeks old.

A tarantula was found in a bin in West Lothian picture: SSPCA

"We suspect the pup became separated from mum and took to the water out of desperation and got swept back in by the current.

"It’s likely that the young seal was exhausted which is why it came up the harbour stairs and into the dangerous location.

"Greenock police were incredibly helpful and ensured the seal was safe until we arrived.

"The poor thing was severely underweight so we immediately took it to our National Wildlife Rescue Centre to receive the care she needed. They named the pup Dot-to-Dot. She has put on weight and we plan on releasing her very soon when the weather improves."

One of the more ridiculous calls came from Newton Mearns where a resident asked for the animal experts to remove a snake from her garden.

The caller reported that the snake had been in the garden all morning and they had managed to contain it under a bucket. Officer Jan attended the property and cautiously approached the bucket. Jan carefully uncovered the snake and it turned out it was a children’s plastic toy.

A seal pup was found in a car park in Greenock picture: SSPCA

Two stags in Wigtownshire, Dumfries and Gallway, were found entangled in discarded electric fencing.

They were unable to escape and were struggling to break free causing distress, and most likely pain, to each animal.

Scottish SPCA animal rescue officer Sheena MacTaggart helped the two animals. She said: “This pair were very lucky to have been spotted by a member of the public who realised something wasn’t right.

“With help from one of our inspectors, we were able to free the pair and release them back into the nearby forest.

“We can’t say how long they had been intertwined for but we do know they would never have been able to untangle themselves without our help.

“They are both doing well. To this day they are still seen around Newton Stewart as one lost an antler in the process so is easy to identify.”

A tarantula was found in a bin in West Lothian much to a resident's horror.

She found it on top of black bags and after a frantic phone call to the animal helpline the poisonous spider was safely removed.

A fox was spotted floating on some rubbish in the water of Leith. It had fallen into the water and became exhausted from trying to stay a float. The SSPCA arranged for a boat to pick it up and after several days of recovering it was released back into the wild.

A member of public reported two deer entangled with each other picture: SSPCA
The SSPCA received a phone call about a snake in a resident's garden but it turned out to be a plastic toy, luckily picture: SSPCA