A baby badger sparked a rescue operation in Fife after falling down a storm drain and getting stuck.
The four-month-old badger could have starved or drowned if a passer-by had not heard it struggling to get out of the drain, which had 8ft high walls.
The Scottish SPCA was called out to help with the rescue in Ceres Road, Cupar.
However, freeing the animal proved to be difficult as it was in a state of shock and kept evading rescue.
Insp Louise Seddon, of the Scottish SPCA, responded to the call and tried to pull the badger out with a grasper before having to resort to a more hands-on approach.
She said: "He wasn't the most willing rescue victim and resisted capture for quite some time.
"We tried to pull him up with a long grasper, but he kept using his front legs to prevent it going round his body so in the end I had to get down into the muddy drain and carry him up to safety.
"Although he had no physical injuries, he was displaying signs of shock and he didn't eat for a couple of days, so we cared for him at our Wildlife Rescue Centre until we were happy he was ready to be released."
The recovered badger was released into the woodland near Ceres Road on Saturday.
Although still very young, he does not depend on his mother any more and will be living by himself in the wild.
Insp Seddon added: "We released him at dusk close to the area we found him. He was a bit unsure at first, but once he had his bearings he bounded off into the woods, no doubt glad to be back home.
"It was lucky for this little badger that someone heard him struggling. In bad weather the storm drain will quickly fill with water, so there's a chance he could have drowned."