Every animal has their own breeding schedule— and for ducks, the time to lay eggs is the spring. During the late spring months, adorable ducklings emerge from their shells ready to take on the world. But, until they get a bit bigger, they’re completely under their Mama’s care.
From the get-go, these ducklings have quite a few dangers to contend with. Male ducks (or drakes) are often aggressive, so one of mom’s main concerns is finding a safe place away from the male-filled lakes or ponds. On top of the males of their species, the little babies are also at a risk of being hurt by several other predators, including snakes, raccoons, foxes, eagles— and sewer grates.
In this video, uploaded to YouTube in August of 2016, you see a Good Samaritan helping a mother duck by rescuing her babies from a sewer grate.
“I was going for a walk the other day, and I noticed a duck was quacking at me,” the man explained in the video.
For some reason, the man got the impression the duck was trying to get his attention. He approached the grate to see what was going on— but when he got closer, he heard little chirps.
When the man looked into the grate, he saw a bunch of tiny ducklings had fallen and were trapped below. Their mother stood by, quacking anxiously, and refused to leave their side.
“I called for help,” he wrote.
The man immediately contacted the Phoenix Fire Department, who rushed to the scene to help free the baby ducklings.
According to the Rutgers Wildlife Conservation and Management Program, baby ducks falling into sewer grates, unfortunately, happens more than you’d think. “It is quite common for ducklings to fall through the opening of sewer grates,” the website explains. “A mother duck can walk across the grate without a problem, and she may not recognize the inherent danger of leading her offspring across it.” Sadly, that’s probably what happened to this group. Baby ducklings imprint on their mother and follow them wherever they go. Because she was so big, she led them over the grate, not even realizing that their tiny bodies would fall right through.
The firefighters spent some time trying to pry open the grate.
Finally, their hard work paid off.
Being careful not to drop the lid into the sewer, the men gently pull it aside. They then inserted a ladder down the hole and used flashlights to make sure the area was free of snakes.
“Meanwhile, the mother duck was flying in circles above us.”
Once they’ve made sure the sewer is free of obstruction, one of the firefighters descends.
Using a cooler filled with leaves to hold the babies, the firefighters succeed in plucking each one out of the dirty sewer.
In total, there were nine little ducklings.
By this time, the mother had made her way into a neighbor’s backyard and was watching the men from afar.
The men then released the baby ducklings who quickly ran back to rejoin their mother.
Since being uploaded, the adorable rescue has been viewed more than 3 million times. People love that the man and firefighters went out of the way to help the little duckies in need.
“Spending considerable time and energy to save the young of another species without expectation of a reward – That’s some legit human-ing.”
“God bless that guy for helping.”
“Thank you, Phoenix Fire Department! That was a tremendous effort and you reunited 9 little ducklings with their worried mother. She was smart to get your attention. She knew she needed help.”
Sadly, ducklings fall into sewer grates more often than you’d think. The Culver City Police Department reminds the public that “sewers can often fill with lethal and toxic methane fumes and without the right equipment, you can place yourself in serious harm.” If you ever come across ducklings that need help, be sure to contact your local authorities instead.
See the video below!
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