A Manorville family nursed a woodchuck stuck in a drainage grate in front of their home Sunday until rescue workers could free the furry animal.
Robert Strimas and his son David Strimas, 24, shaded the animal from the hot sun, protected it from traffic and gave it water until the Suffolk County Police Department Emergency Services team could help free the small rodent.
When Robert's other son, Ethan, 23, found the bucktoothed woodchuck stuck in a drainage grate from the neck up about 2 p.m. Sunday on Lakeview Drive, it was not known how long the animal had been stuck there.
The family called animal rescue in Hampton Bays, which contacted the Suffolk County Police Department's Emergency Services team.
"He was squirming and squeezing a lot, but he calmed down once we gave him water," said David Strimas, who helped give the animal water through a straw. They also shaded the animal, which they dubbed "E.S." for emergency services, with a beach umbrella.
Rescue crews arrived an hour later from Ronkonkoma, and asked the Strimas family to lubricate the animal with Dawn dish soap. When the animal was slippery enough, rescue workers used crowbars to lift the grate.
The woodchuck fell into the drain and walked into a large concrete pipe that leads to a nearby pond.
"I think they did a great job," said Robert Strimas of the police department's rescuers.
The family noted that E.S. is just one of a large number of woodchucks in the area.