Police spokeswoman Kathrin Feyerabend said Monday a woman on the outskirts of Hannover discovered the red squirrel Sunday after hearing its cries.
Its head was poking up above ground through a hole in a manhole cover, its body dangling beneath.
After unsuccessfully trying to push the head back through gently, police officers removed the cover and rubbed olive oil around the squirrel's neck.
Holding back its small tufted ears, they were able to successfully release it.
But Feyerabend says the happy ending was short lived - the squirrel died several hours later, likely from stress.