Christened “Gullyver” (a play on the German word for sewage drainage) by the Hamburger Abendblatt the red squirrel was found Monday afternoon with its head stuck helplessly in a hole in manhole cover.
Passers-by and fire fighters tried to free Gullyver but failed. So the fire department took him to a local animal shelter, where workers anaesthetized the furry beast before managing to free him using a cutting machine as well as copious amounts of soap, grease and water.
Gullyver did not appear to be badly injured at first. He was to remain under observation in an animal shelter before being released.
But on Tuesday, shelter officials said he had died shortly after midnight. Normally squirrels do not come into such close contact with humans and it all appeared to have been too much for the Gullyver.
“We assume that it has succumbed to the stress," said a spokeswoman for the shelter.