A BEACHBALL-sized hedgehog suffering from balloon syndrome with a circumference of 30 inches was among several remarkable animal rescues carried out last year by the Scottish SPCA.

The animal – nicknamed Zeppelin by staff – was thought to have been clipped by a car, which resulted in a punctured lung and air becoming trapped under his skin.

He spent more than six months being looked after at the National Wildlife Centre at Fishcross, Alloa, before being released back into the wilds of Perthshire.

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Another rescue in May saw animal welfare staff called to Ravenscraig Drive in Glasgow, where a fox was spotted in a garden with her head stuck in a watering can.

The can obscured the animal’s vision, allowing the Scottish SPCA officer to get close enough to dislodge her head from the watering can and, apart from being slightly shaken up, she seemed completely unfazed by her quandary.

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In another incident, Scottish SPCA staff and the British Divers Marine Life Rescue group managed to help a stranded porpoise back into deeper waters.

The female porpoise became stranded in Grange Burn, Grangemouth, in April, possibly after becoming disorientated and being caught out by the changing tides. Once the tide had gone out, wet towels were laid on the porpoise and she was moved to deeper waters in nearby Blackness.

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A continent-hopping African clawed frog, which caught a lift in a suitcase from South Africa, also turned up in Scotland.

The charity was alerted in March when it was discovered by surprised holidaymakers in Edinburgh.

Staff believe the frog – which was nicknamed Terrence – jumped into the caller’s suitcase while they were packing.

Terrence spent some time in the Scottish SPCA’s centre in Balerno before being rehomed at the Butterfly and Insect World in Edinburgh.

We all know how clever lizards are at adapting to their environment, but perhaps the strangest call last year came from the woman who found one inside the outdoor shelter she kept stocked with food and bedding for her cat.

When the animal rescue officer went to check, she found the “lizard” was in fact an ornamental otter, which she suspected had been put there as a prank.

READ MORE: Scottish SPCA urge children to be responsible ‘animal citizens’

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent, Mike Flynn, said 2018 reflected on an eventful 2018.

“It was a very busy year for us in terms of rescuing, rehoming and releasing animals back into the wild,” he said.

“Our National Wildlife Centre at Fishcross had its busiest ever year, releasing over 5000 animals.

“We deal with a lot of cases of neglect and mistreatment but as we cater for domestic, farm and wildlife creatures, we do also come across situations you wouldn’t expect.

“Most recently we rescued a raccoon which was very unusual as they are a non-native species and a female black seal pup, possibly the first ever to come into our care.”