A raccoon stuck head first in a sewer grate might not have survived long if not for the quick action of the delivery driver, the Guelph Humane Society and firefighters.
By the time Humane Society staff arrived at Sheridan Street, the animal had already begun to deteriorate, said animal officer Brooke-Lynn Riley.
It happened on January 16, in the middle of the coldest week of the year so far. The raccoon’s fur was covered in ice.
“We knew time was of the essence,” Riley explained.
While animal officials typically use a combination of lubricant, Dawn dish soap, and water to extricate stuck animals, this raccoon was in a uniquely difficult position.
She was trapped just below the waist, three quarters of the way into the sewer.
“When we were looking at the raccoon, there was no way we were going to get her through that opening because she was in that situation [in] head first so we only had her legs to work with,” Riley said.
She and her partner tranquilized the raccoon and called the Guelph Fire Department, which arrived within five minutes. After breaking the ice, the firemen were able to remove the grating. The raccoon was safely extracted and brought back to humane society.
The raccoon rested at the humane society for two days before being released back into the wild. (Facebook/Guelph Humane Society)
“It was a very quick rescue – and thank God because we don’t know how long she was there, that’s why it’s so important that people call us because she could have been there 24 hours, 48 hours. hours, 2 hours, we don’t know,” Riley said.
Once back at the humane society, the staff melted the ice off the raccoon’s fur and slowly added a heat source to prevent shock.
After two days of rest, Riley said the raccoon is ready to be released back near where she was found.
“Before the crate even touched the ground, that raccoon was out. She smelled her home and was ready to go.”
Riley says the animal let staff know it was ready to go. (Facebook/Guelph Humane Society)
Riley said raccoons live in our sewer systems, so it’s not unusual to see them come and go through the grates.
“It’s like their own city down there,” she explained.
In this case, Riley suspects that a combination of freezing rain and heavy snow narrowed the sewer entrance and the raccoon didn’t notice until it was too late.
She is grateful to the delivery man who noticed the animal in trouble and called the humane society.
If you are in the City of Guelph, Center Wellington or Guelph/Eramosa County and see an animal in need, please call the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091.