A stranded skunk raised quite a stink Wednesday morning when NCC employees attempted to rescue it from the thin ice of the Rideau Canal.

The little black and white animal appeared to have fallen over the canal's concrete edge and onto the ice below, just south of the University of Ottawa. As the temperature began to rise and the ice began to disappear, the skunk became trapped.

To the horror of onlookers, the skunk fell into the shallow water at one point, but eventually managed to clamber out. 

Skunk Rideau canal ice Dec 6 2017

Horrified onlookers watched as the skunk slipped into the frigid water. (Stu Mills/CBC)

Employees from the National Capital Commission soon arrived to evaluate the situation. They borrowed a ladder from someone nearby and climbed down into the drained portion of the canal to try to rescue the skunk. 

But the critter was having none of it and retreated into a nearby pipe. When its rescuers persisted, it let loose with a spray of noxious liquid.

The NCC employees soon gave up. Now they're hoping the water freezes overnight so the skunk can somehow find its own way to safety. For now there are no plans to renew the rescue effort.

Skunk Rideau canal ice Dec 6 2017

The little guy took a breather on a ledge after clawing its way out of the water. (Stu Mills/CBC)