Cornwall

Kayaker saves 'drowning' squirrel in Cornish river rescue

Squirrel in kayak Image copyright KORU KAYAKING
Image caption Tom Wildblood spotted the squirrel while giving a guided kayak river tour

A kayaker has rescued a "drowning" squirrel trying to swim across a river in Cornwall.

Tom Wildblood was giving guided kayak tours on the Helford River when he saw the animal in distress about 50m (164ft) from the shore.

In July 2018, Mr Wildblood rescued a baby badger that plummeted 27m (90ft) into the sea.

He said: "When I realised it was a squirrel the first thing I thought was 'oh no, not again'."

The kayaker was used to seeing seals and dolphins in the water but had never before seen a swimming squirrel.

"You don't normally see woodland animals swimming across vast bits of water," he said.

Image copyright Tom Wildblood
Image caption Tom Wildblood is more used to seeing seals and dolphins than squirrels at sea

He plucked the animal from the water and kept it safe between his legs until he got to safety.

The kayaker said initially the animal "looked like a twig" floating on the water.

As he approached it, he was shocked to find it was a squirrel on its back "in distress".

"I picked it up, put it between my legs - which was a bit nerve-wracking - and paddled to the nearest tree," Mr Wildblood said.

He added he was a bit worried about being "nipped" but had a chat with the squirrel to calm it down.

Image copyright KORU KAYAKING
Image caption Mr Wildblood said the creature was "in shock" when he found it

"He was in shock and half drowned so it was just very happy to be on a floating device like a kayak," he said.

"I took it to the nearest foreshore with a little tree on it and it looked quite happy.

"It shook itself off and climbed up the tree."

Image copyright KORU KAYAKING
Image caption The squirrel eventually climbed up a tree after being brought to safety

More on this story