RSPCA Cymru was briefly tasked with rescuing a baby alligator in Rhyl – but immediately identified that the stricken reptile was in fact a toy!
A report was received by the charity, after Rhyl resident Clare Kelly was tricked into believing a baby alligator had been found in a bush in the North Wales town, before being placed in the bath at their home on Tuesday (30 June).
However, it was actually a toy alligator – with the whole incident a prank by her family!
Suspicions were immediately arisen in RSPCA inspector Andrew Broadbent, who asked the panicked caller to double-check the validity of her family member’s claims.
RSPCA inspector Andrew Broadbent said: “As soon as this call came in, it seemed highly unlikely to be true!
“It’s important to never rule anything out in the animal welfare world – but there aren’t too many alligators lurking in the bushes in Rhyl!
“The poor caller had been tricked by family members, who had put a toy alligator in the bath and pretended they collected it from nearby bushes. She was only trying to help – and was very apologetic.
“Our chat certainly offered a bit of light relief at a difficult time for everybody at the moment, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We do sometimes get calls where people mistake toys or other objects for animals – and my colleagues have previously rushed to the aid of a rubber scorpion, a cuddly dog stuck on a roof, or a squirrel mistaken for a cat up a tree! But this was certainly a new one on me!”
Clare Kelly, 25, who sounded the alarm to the RSPCA, said: “My brother went out and told me he’d found this baby alligator in a bush in Rhyl. My mother was in on the prank too.
”They were so convincing, that I genuinely thought it was real and was planning on how to look after him.
“I was ready to help the alligator – and we’d even discussed getting some meat from the butchers to feed him, and how I’d keep my hamster safe who lives with us.
“They didn’t realise I was going to phone the RSPCA! It wasn’t until I told my family I’d called that they burst out laughing – and I had to then tell the RSPCA this alligator was actually made of plastic!”
In 2019, the RSPCA received 1,175,193 phone calls – and approximately every 30 seconds, someone in England and Wales contacts the animal welfare charity.
Ms. Kelly isn’t the first to be tricked with concern for a not-so-real animal – and the RSPCA has previously issued a list of some of the more unusual calls it receives.
RSPCA officers have been working on the frontline throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Should you wish to help them, you can donate to the RSPCA online.