Two worried ducks watched on as their 14 babies were carefully rescued from a drain by RSPCA officers and fire crews - before being reunited back at the river.
RSPCA inspector Caroline O’Riordan and trainee inspector Lucy Green were called to Nursery Road in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, last Tuesday morning (May 1) after a woman saw a paddling of ducklings fall through the metal bars of a drain cover into the pipes below the road.
Inspector Green said: “She was really worried about the poor ducklings as there’s no way they would have been able to get out themselves - they had fallen a good few feet below the drain cover.
“The mum and dad ducks were hanging around the drain squawking and were clearly very distressed.
“Inspector O’Riordan shone a torch down the drain and knew they were a long way down.
“The drain cover was fixed tightly so we had to request the help of the local Huntingdon fire service. They quickly arrived and were able to remove the cover so we could reach down to the ducklings inside - all 14 of them!”
The inspectors weren’t able to catch the adult ducks - who were very distressed - but as soon as they had all the ducklings safely confined in a box they carried them away from the danger of the roads and back to the river.
“We were a little worried because we couldn’t catch the parents and we didn’t want to separate the family, especially as the ducklings would be too young to survive alone,” Inspector Green added.
“But as soon as we started heading towards the river, the parents came running after us! It was adorable!
“I think they knew we were helping their babies and that they would be safely back on the water soon.”
The officers released the ducklings back onto the water where they were reunited with their parents before swimming off into the sunset!
“We often get called out to help ducklings who have fallen into drains and it’s always a lovely feeling to reunite the babies back with their mothers - but this was a particularly special job as the parents were there every step of the way to watch us rescue their babies,” Inspector Green added.
If you spot an animal in need of help, please contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency hotline on 0300 1234 999 or visit www.rspca.org.uk/report.