Found in sewers: a snake, toy soldiers ... and a cow
Scottish Water reveals range of odd items discovered as it urges: think before you flush.
A snake, a cow, a frog and a platoon of toy soldiers were all found in Scotland's sewer network in the past year, water bosses have revealed.
Scottish Water, which spends £6 million a year clearing blocked pipes, also discovered a badget and a goldfish clogging up the system.
While some items end up there having fallen into drains or manholes, many others are simply flushed away - and the organisation has asked people to think more carefully about their habits.
Waste water general manager Rob Mustard said: "When sewers, pumping stations and sewage works get clogged they overflow and sewage escapes into rivers. This endangers public health, wildlife and the environment."
A worker at the Dunfermline waste water treatment works was stunned to notice a Mexican desert king snake curled beneath a metal grid boardwalk he was strolling along. He called the Scottish SPCA, who collected the non-venomous constrictor and took it away.
A goldfish now named Pooh, recovered in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, and a frog found in a pump in Dornoch, Highlands, were none the worse for their time inside the sewer system. A live badger found in a pumping station well at Drongan in Ayrshire also made a full recovery after it was rescued by the Scottish SPCA.
However, a sheep found in a manhole chamber and a cow recovered from a storm tank were not so lucky.
Many larger items enter the network after falling in when manhole covers are stolen.
As well as animals, Scottish Water workers recovered items including a hardy Action Man still wearing his boots and an iron that still worked despite its time in the network. Workers in Dumfries even found the credit card of one of their colleagues, which had been stolen from his wife's handbag on a night out.
Scottish Water dealt with more than 36,500 choked drains last year and urged the public to help reduce the amount by being more careful. The organisation estimates that 340 million items of sanitary waste are flushed each year and said that 55% of all sewer blockages were caused by people disposing of cooking fat down their sink.
Mr Mustard said: "Scottish Water is playing its part to improve the quality of rivers, watercourses and beaches for communities across the country. Rivers, in particular, are the lifeblood of so much of our inland wildlife.
"However, we need local people to play their part and help us protect our natural environment."