“Jughead” being set free, Courtesy Maryland DNR

A Harford County deer has at once shed both a plastic jar from its face and an embarrassing nickname from its reputation, thanks to help from Maryland wildlife officials.

For more than a week, the animal had been spotted cruising around a Bel Air neighborhood with a plastic pretzel jar stuck on its head, earning it the sad, but humorous nickname of “Jughead.” The same residents who came up with that label were working daily with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to track it down so officials could tranquilize it and remove the jar.

Jughead likely got his head caught while trying to lick some stray salt out of the inside of the pretzel jar, DNR officials said.

Last night, members of the Wildlife and Heritage Service finally found Jughead and temporarily put him to rest with a tranquilizer shot. DNR staff were able to catch the animal by using tree stands to track him and learning his “normal paths of travel,” according to a release.

An expert from the department had previously said the deer was likely able to breathe fine thanks to the narrow shape of its head. Before freeing Jughead from the pretzel jar, they confirmed he was in fact breathing normally.

“The deer appeared alert and healthy on its release,” the department said in the release.

The deer now roams free without a mask once again. He joins a list of other creatures in Maryland that have survived encounters with recyclables — several per year in fact, according to a DNR spokesman — including this Frederick County bear that was temporarily imprisoned by a metal milk jug in 2015.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...