Crossbow missed swan's brain 'by millimetres'

Injured swan Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The swan was found injured near the River Soar on Sunday

An eight-week-old cygnet shot in the head with a crossbow bolt escaped death by "millimetres".

The young swan was shot near the River Soar, Soar Lane, Leicestershire on Sunday, an RSPCA spokesman said.

The bird has made a "miraculous" recovery and is expected to survive, RSPCA inspector Sarah Bate said.

Ms Bate said: "He is a very lucky swan indeed as this could very easily have been fatal."

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The crossbow bolt missed the cygnet's brain "by millimetres"

She added: "When I arrived, the swan was lying on the bank and was obviously in pain.

"The crossbow had gone straight through his head, just above his right eye, and straight through the other side - a very shocking thing to see."

Image copyright RSPCA
Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The cygnet was recovering well at a local wildlife centre and will be released back into the wild

Ms Bate added: "I took him immediately to a vet, where an X-ray showed the crossbow had missed his brain by a tiny fraction - just millimetres."

The bird was taken to a local wildlife centre, where he will be monitored before being returned to the wild.

It is believed the cygnet was shot overnight on Saturday or in the early hours of Sunday.

The maximum penalty for injuring or killing a wild bird is six months in prison and a £5,000 fine.

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