A SKUNK found in a woodland was saved by the RSPCA – after which he thanked his rescuer with a putrid pong.

A local dog walker called the RSPCA for help after spotting the non-native black and white skunk in woodland in Houghton-le-Side, near Darlington.

RSPCA Inspector John Lawson said: “When we arrived at the site, this poor skunk was cowering in a hole in the base of a tree.

“As my colleague, Deputy Chief Inspector Stainthorpe, and I approached the skunk, he ventured out from the tree, but surprisingly, didn’t run away, staying within a couple of metres of us.

“Rescuing skunks is not an everyday occurrence for us, but we knew it was important to keep the animal as calm as possible."

He added: “Very carefully, we coaxed the frightened skunk into a portable kennel, which I put in my van.

"As I set off for the vet, the skunk immediately ‘sprayed’ in my vehicle.”

The skunk, thought to be an abandoned pet, had severe dental problems and overgrown claws.