A donkey has shot to fame after being pictured riding in the back seat of a police car.

The escaped equine was caught by police officers in the US after being found on the run in Oklahoma on 1 December.

“Our officers encounter unexpected things every day while on-duty,” said a spokesman for the City of Norman Police.

“This morning, Officer Kyle Canaan responded to a call regarding a donkey on the loose in the 8100 block of 120th Avenue NE.

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“To ensure the safety of the animal, he helped transport the donkey to a nearby home for safe keeping until its owner could be located.

“It’s not everyday that you see a donkey in the backseat of a police car!”

The photo went viral, receiving more than 9,000 Facebook shares and hundreds of retweets.

The donkey, who police had named “Squishy”, was reunited with his owner.

Dr Matt Spaulding, the donkey’s owner, told American news outlet kfor.com that he noticed the equine — whose real name is Cruz — was missing on the evening of 1 December.

“The three horses came up to me and then no Cruz,” he said.

“I don’t know how they got him in the car — that is why they say they called him ‘Squishy’.”

He added that he believes the donkey escaped under the wire fence.

“I’m just grateful for good neighbours, they kept him safe until I got him back — they did a good job,” Dr Spaulding said.

The police force added: “[His owner] expressed many thanks to both Officer Kyle Canaan and the Straders for getting it to a safe place and providing excellent care for the little guy after its great escape.”