COVERED in blood, trapped in a snare, and lying helpless on the ground, there seemed no escape.
But one roe deer has the quick thinking of two teenage cyclists to thank for saving her life.
The deer’s neck had been trapped in a legally-set snare in woodland near Aberlady, East Lothian, leaving her to helplessly thrash around on the ground.
Thankfully, 17-year-olds David Sked and Matthew Lauder, who had been cycling in the woods, stumbled upon the stricken animal and knew they had to act.
But the rescue itself came with its own drama as neither of the boys had any credit in their mobile phones to call for help.
Matthew said: “We had no money in our phones but thought ‘we can’t just leave it’. Both our mums were at work so we tried ringing my granny, Margaret, on 0800 reverse, and a few friends, but they rejected the calls.
“David had free texts so we texted a friend and she phoned the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline.”
David, who lives in Longniddry, and Matthew, of Port Seton, made the discovery last Thursday afternoon. The boys had been cycling in woods between Aberlady and Gullane when they heard rustling coming from the bushes.
David, a sixth year pupil at Preston Lodge High School in Prestonpans, added: “The deer was really thrashing about and I couldn’t get near her. She was covered in blood. We were just shocked because it’s unusual to see a deer. but we stayed with her until the Scottish SPCA arrived.”
Matthew added: “I felt quite good that we helped, like I had achieved something.”
Scottish SPCA ambulance driver, Fiona Thorburn, said when she arrived at the scene the deer was in “real distress” and suffered a lot of bruising and hair loss from the wire around her neck, which was badly wounded.
She added: “Luckily the boys must have discovered her soon after she became snared. I managed to contain her and release the snare. I then took her to our Wildlife Rescue Centre where our staff cleaned her wounds and gave her a long-acting antibiotic.”
After a full check, the deer was released back into the wild.
“She was a bit unsteady on her feet at first, but soon realised she was free to go,” said Miss Thorburn. “She gave us a quick look back before she disappeared into the woods.”
The charity says the case highlights its belief that snares, even legally set, are “cruel, indiscriminate and unnecessary”. It responded to 30 different incidents of animals in snares from January to December last year.
Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn added: “We believe the only way to stop animals from suffering in snares is a total ban. No amount of regulation will prevent non-target species being caught in snares.”