A skunk’s sweet tooth led it on a misadventure Sunday morning when its head got stuck in a McFlurry cup.
But luck was on the skunk’s side, as Bridgton police officers risked a spraying to free the crepuscular animal from its soft-serve prison.
Officers Sophie Swiatek and Josh Muise were called to the Morning Glory Diner on Portland Road Sunday morning after getting a call about a skunk in distress, the department said.
A video shared on the department’s Facebook page showed the officers “tactically” removing the McFlurry cup from the skunk’s head after covering it with a jacket. Once freed, the skunk wasted no time in scurrying from the scene.
“Yes, they train us for this at the police academy,” the department said in a Facebook post. “Please don’t litter.”
That’s not the first case where police officers needed to retrieve a skunk’s head from human garbage. On July 30, Portland police officers saved a skunk that got its head stuck in an aluminum can. Earlier this year, police in Billerica, Massachusetts, helped a skunk that somehow got its head stuck in a Bud Light can.
In September 2017, York police officers freed a skunk’s head from a McDonald’s cup, while in June 2017 Rockland police saved a skunk with its head in a peanut butter jar. Two years earlier, a Lewiston police officer got sprayed by an ungrateful skunk after he freed its head from a glass jar.
A Millinocket woman was luckier in August 2016 when she freed an unfortunate skunk that got its head stuck in a peanut butter jar.
These skunks belong to a comic fraternity dubbed “trash-can heads.” But all those containers humans toss can become death traps for animals.
“It happens all the time, and most of the time we don’t even know about it, because the animals die,” Greg Grimm, a volunteer and board member for Gold Country Wildlife Rescue in Auburn, California, told the Washington Post last year. Grimm’s group in 2018 managed to save a young coyote whose head had been lodged in a plastic jug for at least 10 days, the newspaper reports. After four weeks of rehabilitation, that coyote was freed into the wild.
“We handle, like, 3,500 animals a year,” Grimm told the Post. “But there’s a few that are special, and the coyote was one of them.”
Related: Millinocket woman frees skunk from sticky, and potentially stinky, situation