Firefighters in Germany are getting praise from animal lovers around the world after a life saved: that of a very fat rat.
An animal rescuer called the local volunteer fire department for backup Sunday when he couldn’t free a sewer rat lodged in a manhole cover in Bensheim.
First spotted by a young girl, the rat “had a lot of winter flab” and was stuck at the hip in a small hole, animal rescuer Michael Sehr says, per the BBC and Deutsche Welle. “There was no going forward or back.”
The eight or so firefighters managed to free the rat, who was unharmed and released into a park, with use of a “fixation rod” and elbow grease, reports the Local.
After the animal rescue group shared details of the rescue on Facebook—it was also captured by a body camera—hundreds of supportive comments rolled in. It probably helps that the rat played well for the camera. A widely shared photo shows the animal, still lodged, looking up at the camera with its mouth open, in an apparent plea for help. “Awwww poor thing is like ‘Heeeeelp meeee. I’m stuck,'” one user commented.
Others pointed out that officials in some German cities are trying to kill sewer rats with poisoned bait, per Deutsche Welle. But as Sehr puts it, “even animals that are hated by many people deserve respect.” (These are America’s “rattiest” cities.)