I want to state upfront that this opossum-found-stuck-in-a-jar has a happy ending, so don't fret. The poor thing was brought into the von Arx Wildlife Hospital in Naples, Florida, when a homeowner, who had been away from home for a month, discovered the opossum trapped inside a glass jar that was used as a yard decoration. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, which runs the Wildlife Hospital, tells the story of freeing the opossum on their website:
The first attempt to extricate the opossum was to put the jar on its side and slightly tip downward with several pieces of food at the opening. We wanted the opossum to make his way out on its own. After two hours, the opossum still wouldn't budge.
The next thought was to get a glasscutter and try to cut the top of the jar. The opossum slipped into the neck of the jar just as staff was evaluating the idea. We were able to gently work the opossum's tail out of the jar while managing to keep both hind feet and legs flattened to his body. Slowly and gently, staff freed the opossum from the jar.
We settled the opossum in a recovery enclosure with food and water and allowed the opossum time to rest. A check on the opossum later that evening showed he had eaten his diet and was resting peacefully.
After three days in the mammal room in the hospital, the opossum was moved to an outdoor recovery space to encourage natural foraging behavior, build muscle strength and acclimate to the outdoor temperatures.
Sadly, this wasn't the only animal that was recently trapped or injured by a common household item. A black racer snake was also recently helped by Wildlife Hospital staff after it got stuck on a piece of packing tape hanging off a storage box in someone's garage. The Wildlife Hospital has treated lots of poor critters over the years in similar situations:
Examples over the years include owls entangled in soccer nets, a woodpecker incapacitated after being sprayed with foam insulation, sewing thread and twine causing constriction injuries on various species of songbird nestlings and small mammals trapped in garbage cans and dumpsters – the list is endless.
They conclude with a plea to homeowners to "reconsider the items in your yard." Great advice—let's be good neighbors to our wild critter friends!