Members of the public spotted the Belgian Blue bullock in a field on the Troon to Barassie road in Ayrshire last month.
The startled onlookers immediately called the Scottish SPCA to help the poor animal.
Inspector Kerry Kirkpatrick contacted the farmer who owned the cow and helped return the bewildered beast to the herd unharmed.
Inspector Kirkpatrick said: “When the job came through my first thought was, this is a wind up, but I arrived at the field to find the cow looking confused but surprisingly calm despite having his head wedged tightly in between the rungs of the ladder.
“The farmer’s family rounded up the whole herd into a holding pen and we managed to gently pull the ladder off the cow’s head.
“The farmer had no idea how the ladder ended up in his field as he only recently took on the lease for the land. It may have been used to patch up a hole in the fence or it could have fallen off a passing van or lorry.
“Either way, it’s a rescue I won’t forget in a while.”