A pair of inquisitive raccoons probably thought they had hit the jackpot when they came across a vat of golden honey.
But instead of simply satisfying their sweet tooth, the masked marauders found themselves up to their necks in the sticky stuff.
An anonymous rescuer fished the animals from the 55-gallon drum and took them to the Lindsay Wildlife Experience in Walnut Creek, California. When the juvenile raccoons, believed to be brother and sister, arrived at the rehabilitation centre, their thick fur was matted and slathered with honey.
Volunteers carefully bathed the youngsters in warm water mixed with Dawn dish washing soap, the same gentle cleanser used on birds after an oil spill.
The siblings are recuperating with a home care volunteer in Benicia, dining on a rich, honey-free diet of dog and cat kibble mixed with fish, egg and fruit. The centre plans to release the raccoons at dusk later this week.