Three-hour mission to save fox cub in Bexhill drain

The fox cub was soaking wet when it eventually came out of the drain
The fox cub was soaking wet when it eventually came out of the drain

Rescuers spent three hours trying to save a fox cub after it was seen at the bottom of a drain in Bexhill.

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) was called to a cul-de-sac in Cooden Beach to rescue the cub as its mother watched on yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, May 10).

WRAS founder Trevor Weeks from Uckfield, rescuer manager Chris Riddington from Eastbourne and senior rescuer Tony Neads from Polegate, came to try and save the cub.

“At first we were unsure where the cub was as there were multiple pipes leading in different directions,” Chris said.

“We used a mobile phone to film inside the pipes, as well as drainage rods, hose pipe and insulation for pipes to try checking the pipes and potentially push the cub to the drain entrance 2.5ft underground.

“We were amazed that the vixen turned up whilst we were trying to find the cub and it was almost as if she knew we were trying to rescue her cub.

Rescuers could hear the cub and eventually came to the conclusion the cub must be in the only section of pipe they could not get rods or pipes into.

“We didn’t want to give up, and we knew that if the cub was left it was die,” Trevor said.

“After spending 90 minutes trying to get to the cub, we came to realise we had no choice but to play the waiting game.

“It is common for cubs to make their way back towards the entrance they came in from, so we decided to back off take a break and then try again.

“We returned to WRAS’s Casualty Centre for a break for a couple of hours to sort out other rescues and check on casualties.

“On our return to Cooden Beach a couple of hours later, I laid on the ground with my arm down the hole.

“Suddenly I could feel the cub touching my hand, twice he reversed into my hand but not far enough for me to grab hold, on the third occasion I was able to grab his tail, and gently lift him out of the drain.”

The cub was soaking wet and dirty, so rescuers wrapped the cub up in a towel and took him back to the casualty centre for a bath and clean.

Within the hour rescuers had returned to Cooden Beech to try and reunite the cub with his mum.

“As if the rescue hadn’t been amazing already, within minutes of us returning mum appeared and walked straight over to a pet carrier which we had placed the cub in,” Chris added.

“As soon as the cub realised mum was there he was so excited and desperately wanted to get out the carrier.

“With some help from mum he managed to climb out and mum escorted him back home again. It was unbelievably emotional for all of us.”

This is the third fox cub rescue in three days for WRAS as Sunday saw rescuers rescue a cub stuck in a trench and on Monday, rescuers rescued a cub stuck between two walls.

“The last two rescuers we were really not sure whether we would be successful, so for both cubs to have been returned to their families is amazing,” Trevor said.

“It really makes the long hours and stress so well worth it.”

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