A dozy dormouse could not believe its luck when it managed to squeeze inside a bird feeder for a feast – only to fall asleep and get stuck.
The nocturnal creature had been “plumping up for hibernation” on seed mix when it was spotted.
The Hampshire Dormouse Group advised the Isle of Wight resident to ease it out and release it into a hedgerow.
Catherine Hadler, from the group, “couldn’t quite believe” what the rotund rodent had got itself into.
The Isle of Wight is known to be a place where dormice can thrive because of the number of hedgerows and a lack of grey squirrels as competition for food.
It is thought the usually nocturnal animal may have got into the feeder overnight before being spotted dozing in the hanging feeder on Tuesday afternoon.
The homeowner contacted the Hampshire Dormouse Group for help in freeing it before it scuttled away, apparently unharmed by its confinement.
The owner said birds had continued to use the feeder with the dormouse inside.
Ms Hadler said: “Everyone loves a chubby dormouse – it’s quite unusual to see them during the day.
“He was plumping up nicely for hibernation. Safe to say this fatty will survive hibernation just fine.”
The group has previously recorded a dormouse on the island weighing 40g (1.4oz), double their usual weight heading into the hibernation season.
She urged anyone seeing a dormouse to register the sighting online to help conservation efforts.
Loss of habitat has led to Britain’s native hazel dormouse population declining by more than a third since 2000, according to a 2016 report by wildlife charity, the People’s Trust for Endangered Species.