Everyday heroes at Scotland’s charity air ambulance service used their lifesaving skills to rescue a trapped hedgehog at their Perth HQ.
The SCAA team are more familiar with Helimed missions in remote and treacherous parts of Scotland.
But in this case, they had to use their expertise in a life-or-death situation on their own doorstep.
Airwing paramedic Julia Barnes was at the Perth Airport base when she spotted a poor soul in peril.
“I had just stepped out of the office to take a phone call when I noticed this hole in the ground,” she said.
“We had some work done recently and it looks like this old drainpipe was left uncovered.
“As I was chatting to my partner, I peered into the hole and noticed the prickles of a hedgehog.
“I said to my partner on the phone: ‘Aw, it looks like some poor hedgehog has got stuck and died’. He said, ‘I’ll leave you to it’.”
Julia said: “I picked up a stick and gave it a gentle prod. I saw it curling up so I knew it was still alive and needed to be rescued.
“I put on a pair of gloves, reached in and grabbed it. I took it back into the base to show the rest of the guys.”
She said: “It’s obviously a bit of a different challenge for us, but we ended up using the same skills. As we always do, we were asking ourselves what the patient needed. In this case: warmth, darkness and some peace and quiet.”
The hedgehog, named Chopper by his rescuers, was wrapped up in a blanket and placed in a cardboard box near a heater.
“It was absolutely frozen and I think near to starvation,” Julia said.
“My mum used to run a wildlife and hedgehog hospital, so I knew these creatures are meant to feel warm to touch. I could tell that this one was young, small and not in a great condition, but he didn’t seem to be badly hurt.”
The Scottish SPCA was called to the airport. Animal rescue officer Stuart Louch said Chopper had been found just in time.
“All the credit for the rescue should go to the SCAA team. By the time I arrived, they’d already rescued the young hedgehog from the drain.
“We think he had been down there for some time as he was quite thin. If he had been there much longer, he probably wouldn’t have made it, so it was incredibly lucky he was spotted.”
He said apart from his malnourished condition, Chopper was uninjured.