A Scottish animal welfare charity was called out to rescue a 'distressed' owl that had been left tied to a tree all night, only for an inspector to find the bird was in fact a plastic garden water feature.
The anonymous call, which the charity say could have been genuine or a prank, was received by the Scottish SPCA on Tuesday.
Chief Inspector John Carle said, “I had a feeling as soon as I approached the property that something wasn’t quite right.
“The front garden contained a number of ornaments and decorative features and when I spoke to the occupant she took me to the rear of the house where the owl in question was being stored.
“It was immediately clear to me that the animal was obviously not real so I have to say that I’m more inclined to think that the call may have been made as a prank.
“We occasionally receive call-outs of this nature from individuals with genuine concerns for animals, only to find that the animal in question is a toy or an ornament.
Inspector Carle continued: "Last year one of our animal rescue officers was called after a resident found a snake in her loft. It turned out that the snake was in fact part of a fancy dress costume left there by a previous tenant.
"We also had an instance where we were called to rescue a baby alligator from a roundabout, which was in fact a plastic toy.
"In both cases the callers were mortified and genuinely believed the animals they'd seen were real."
He added: "On a serious note, we are receiving a huge volume of callouts every day, so prank calls of any kind not only waste our time and our supporters donations, but could delay us in reaching an animal that desperately needs our help."Reuse content