A red squirrel had to be rescued by firefighters after getting its head stuck in a manhole cover in the German city of Dortmund. The squirrel’s head was spotted by a pedestrian, who attempted to calm it down by covering it with a scarf before calling for help. Despite being unharmed, the squirrel reportedly tried to bite its rescuers, who were eventually able to free it from the cover. They let the rodent go and it vanished up a nearby tree.
This was not the first time firefighters in Dortmund have had to rescue a squirrel – the previous rescue was in 2019. However, the department said it was unclear whether the squirrel rescued in 2021 was the same squirrel rescued four years earlier.
Red squirrels, a native species to the UK, are declining in number due to disease and the spread of their grey counterparts. In Germany, red squirrels are listed as endangered and are protected by law.
The incident highlights the importance of protecting urban wildlife, especially in cities where there are few natural habitats for animals. Measures can be taken to make cities more wildlife-friendly, such as planting native plants and shrubs, installing bird boxes and insect hotels, and creating designated green spaces. Ensuring that manhole covers and other infrastructure are properly maintained can also help prevent such incidents from happening in the future.